COMPASS makes transportation funding top priority

The board of directors of the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS) identified its legislative priorities at its monthly board meeting on Dec. 16.

The priorities, identified in four legislative position statements, highlight issues of importance to COMPASS members, who represent Treasure Valley cities, counties, highway districts and other government organizations. As in past years, additional funding for transportation infrastructure is the top priority.

2014 COMPASS State Legislative Positions

1. Transportation Revenue
The COMPASS board of directors strongly supports increasing and diversifying dedicated revenue for state and local transportation systems, including transit and alternative transportation modes. Idaho’s current transportation funding level is inadequate to address the state’s needs.

The Governor’s Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding in Idaho reported in 2010 a $632 million annual shortfall for roadway and bridge needs in the state, including $281 million annual shortfall to simply meet maintenance needs of the current system. A functional transportation system is critical to accommodate the population growth and economic development of the Treasure Valley and Idaho.

2. Local Option Tax Authority
The COMPASS board of directors strongly supports general local option sales tax authority legislation. Such a tool will provide local units of government the ability to request necessary supplemental infrastructure revenue, as approved by local voters, through a local option sales tax.

The board supports the concept of allowing such funds to be used for roadway and/or transit projects. The Idaho Constitution currently empowers the legislature to grant local option taxing authority to local units of government.

The COMPASS board does not support local option taxes being used as a replacement for personal property taxes.

3. Bicycle Safety Legislation
The COMPASS board of directors supports legislation to provide greater infrastructure safety enhancements for bicyclists on Idaho’s local roads and highways. Such legislation will provide revenue enhancements to incorporate bicycle lanes and/or roadway shoulder widths conducive to bicycle and pedestrian safety and increase safety for all roadway users.

4. Transportation Access Plan Legislation
The COMPASS Board of Directors strongly supports legislation providing a mechanism for the Idaho Transportation Board, in cooperation with local planning entities, to define the access-control standards for a given highway corridor.

This concept will allow transportation planning agencies to protect the safety and mobility of the traveling public by entering into agreements to control and manage access on state highways. This authority would help solve traffic flow challenges on state highways, particularly in high-growth areas like Ada and Canyon counties.

Published 1-3-14