Advancement of I-84 project in Canyon County highlights transportation board’s January meeting

The Idaho Transportation Board’s discussion at its Jan. 18 meeting in Boise focused on the advancement of Interstate 84 pavement work, and included public transportation and aeronautics.

Report on Public Transportation
The six-member Public Transportation Advisory Council, established to advise the board on issues, policies, and performance concerning public transportation services in Idaho, gave its annual report. The council participates in planning activities, identifies transportation needs, and promotes a coordinated transportation system focused on the economy.

Last year, the council helped identify strategies for the still-developing Statewide Transit Plan, and revised the project application and evaluation process. Some of the performance measures and financial information the council reviews includes how much money a provider receives, what the funds are used for, how many riders were served, and how much it costs to operate the service.

The 2017 goals are to disburse one-time funds of $1.2 million, continue statewide planning efforts, and refine the evaluation process to select projects for funding.

Aeronautics’ Annual Report
The Aeronautics Advisory Board and division administrator also presented their annual report.
Some of the state’s aviation activities in 2016 consisted of inspecting 39 airports, evaluating 26 obstructions, and fulfilling 53 supply requests.  Search and Rescue conducted four searches last year. There were 21 aviation accidents with two fatalities in Idaho, compared to 30 accidents with 11 fatalities in 2015. The Division had no accidents or incidents.

The drone industry continues to expand rapidly, with as many as seven million drones estimated to be sold in the United States by 2020. Over the next 10 years, the global market is expected to be worth in excess of $30 billion, for both the civilian sector and military.

The aviation industry is concerned with a pilot shortage, as experienced pilots are retiring and the high cost of training and overall low entry-level wages discourage potential pilots from entering the field.

Some of the projects planned this year include opening a new public airstrip, conducting Airport Basic Training courses, and expanding activities to be a resource on drones. The safety goal is to reduce 16 accidents with five or fewer fatalities.

Advancing District 3’s I-84 project
Due to the historically severe winter weather the Treasure Valley has been experiencing, the pavement condition on Interstate 84 in the Nampa-Caldwell area are deteriorating. The interstate was closed temporarily for evaluation and emergency pothole repairs, costing an estimated $500,000 to $750,000.

The board approved District 3’s request to advance a $14.4-million I-84 rehabilitation and resurfacing project from FY18 to FY17. The funds are available through bid savings, project closures, operation savings, and pre-horizontal career path salary savings.

Published 01-27-17