Transporter of yesteryear
While looking through our old newsletter, I found some interesting facts from years gone by. Remember that in 1956 the average wage was $1/hour and $4,400/year, a decent car cost @2,000, and a new house was $9,500 on average:
In the 1956 Idaho Highway News, our two-year operating budget was $9,552,425. Our operating budget today is roughly $300 million...for one year.
Maybe it was easier to fill the accountant’s job back then since they had a few less columns to add and subtract.
In 1956, our State Highway Engineer was Earle V. Miller, who was the only Highways professional on a national six-person panel dealing with Urban Transportation. How did Idaho, where the most populated county (Ada) had less than 75,000 people at the time, make the urban transportation shortlist?
We opened a grand total of 33 construction bids that year statewide – roughly 5-6 per district. Today, we open bids on about 100 projects statewide each year. In fact, there are some months, during “peak” season, when it gets close to 30. Although ITD does try to limit bid openings to six per week.
In 1920, there were 8.6 people in Idaho per motor vehicle. By 1955, that ratio was 2:1. In 2018, that ratio is basically 1:1. That's 1.6 million vehicles on Gem State roads.
I also found some social commentary - you may find that some of this still holds true today:
Definition of the month
Flirtation: attention without intention.
The biggest menaces on the road are driving under 21 going over 65, and drivers over 65 going under 21.
Voice on Phone: “How do you feel this morning?”
Voice on Other End: “Just fine.”
First Voice: “I must have the wrong number.”
“Gee, old man, I’m sorry your wife eloped with the chauffer.”
“So what?” said the old man, “I can learn to drive.”
On the first day of school, the teacher explained that if anyone had to go to the bathroom, they should hold up two fingers.
Confused, a little boy asked “Why? How will that help?”
The average number of times a man says “no” to temptation is once weakly.