Annual Report, rail safety and potential D4 relocation to be discussed
A review of the department’s Annual Report, a discussion of possible relocation of the District 4 office, and safety at railroad crossings will highlight the monthly meeting of the Idaho Transportation Board in Shoshone Sept. 20-21.
Railway-Highway Crossing Program
The State Railroad Grade Crossing Protection Fund provides an annual allotment of $250,000 for projects in the federal and state Highway Safety Rail Programs. These programs reduce the number and severity of vehicle-train collisions at public railroad-road crossings. An amount of $25,000 is also provided to support public education and safety programs that promote awareness of public safety at railroad-grade crossings.
Twelve railroad companies operate in Idaho. There are 1,460 public rail-highway crossings. In 2016, the five-year fatality average at these locations was 2 and the five-year serious injuries average was 2.6. The Rail Operations And Safety Team nominates, prioritizes, and manages rail-highway safety projects.
District 4 Office
Studies will be presented at the meeting related to a direction for proceeding, the economic impact, and the social impact. The District 4 Administrative Building report, completed in July 2016, considered four potential locations: Shoshone, near the I-84/US-93 jct, downtown Jerome, and in Twin Falls.
Some of the considerations reported in the Economic Impact Study include the geographic center of the district is slightly east of the current location in Shoshone, the population center lies near Twin Falls, and most ITD administration employees live between Twin Falls and Jerome. The relocation of the office out of Shoshone would mean an estimated loss in revenue for Lincoln County of $80,000 to $125,000, and $30,000 to $55,000 annually to the city of Shoshone.
According to the Social Impact Study, “The evidence presented in this report suggests that a move from Shoshone would best serve the new needs of the administration building and its employees; however, the move would have a negative economic impact on Shoshone and the surrounding communities in Lincoln County.”
Some of the information included in the report: From 2013 to 2017, the state’s population increased 4.3%, to 1.68 million people; the number of licensed drivers increased 0.9%; vehicle registrations increased 4.9%, and the annual miles driven increased 9.4% to 17.15 billion. In 2016, the five-year fatality rate was 1.28 and there were 252 highway fatalities, the average number of days to process vehicle titles was 6, and there were 256,700 DMV transactions processed on the Internet.
The board will be asked to review and provide comments on the report. Staff will present the final report to the board next month for approval.