Board member Jan Vassar with Moscow City Supervisor Gary Riedner and Mayor Bill Lambert.

Seat Belt success, GARVEE update, Vassar appreciation highlight Idaho Transportation Board’s April meeting          

A local story of a high school seat belt challenge, an update on the GARVEE program, and appreciation for Board member Jan Vassar from the city of Moscow were highlights from the  April 18-19 Idaho Transportation Board Meeting in Lewiston.

View the Director's videotaped report

Seat Belt Challenge
At its business meeting, the board heard about a high school senior's project to encourage motorists to buckle up.

In 2016, an unbelted motorist was killed every 3.2 days in Idaho. The observed seat belt usage rate was 83%, but only 35% of motor vehicle occupants killed in crashes were wearing seat belts.

Each year the National Organizations for Youth Safety organizes a seat belt challenge to all high schools in the country. Lewiston High School senior Kaylee Ammons made promoting seat belts her senior project. Some of the activities for her project included conducting a seat belt survey, posting signs reminding motorists to buckle up, and distributing merchandise like air fresheners with messages to buckle up.

She was presented with a certificate of appreciation for her efforts to promote seat belt usage.

GARVEE Program update
The board was briefed on the five expansion projects funded partially or completely with GARVEE bonds. The I-84, Karcher to Franklin Boulevard project is 55% complete. It will be constructed via four separate projects. The I-84, Caldwell to Karcher project is 15% complete. The project may be accelerated if FHWA concurs with splitting the corridor. The US-95, SH-53 and Garwood project is 25% complete. It will consist of two construction packages, which should be delivered in about one year. The US-95, Granite North project is 15% complete. The Plans, Specifications, and Estimates package is scheduled to be delivered in March 2019. Staff is currently reviewing proposals for the SH-16, I-84 to US-20/26 project.

GARVEE bonds are secured with a pledge of future federal transportation funding. The bonds will be issued on an as-needed basis, with the first issuance anticipated in spring 2019. The additional $300 million GARVEE bond authorization is estimated to add $24 million in debt service annually, which will bring the coverage ratio to about 27%.

District 2 report
District 2 reported on its performance metrics. For winter mobility, the roads were clear of ice and snow 83% of the time, and every winter road report was submitted on time. All of the FY18 projects were delivered on time. Eight of the nine FY19 projects plus five FY20 and FY21 projects have been delivered to date.

Project delivery will continue to be a priority. The district will also focus heavily on upcoming extensive construction projects on US-12. They are also preparing trucks for next winter by addressing common failures with more durable parts; refining the winter maintenance efforts and reducing overall costs; and preparing for summer maintenance projects like cleaning drainage features, repairing bridge decks and guardrail, and restriping pavement markings.

Board tour
The board toured the District on April 19, focusing on Latah and Nez Perce counties. It visited with I-Minerals Inc. officials in Bovill. Efforts are underway to open the mine next year. Four minerals/products will be processed from the ore and used to make items such as glass, ceramics, cement, and paint. The products will be shipped via truck and rail, with a projection of 26 truckloads per day. The mine anticipates a work force of 80 full-time employees plus 9-13 contract miners.

The board also stopped in Moscow, where the mayor presented Board Member Jan Vassar with an award in appreciation of her service, especially her contributions to local government agencies. (pictured at top)

Published 04-27-18