Outdoor signs, railroads, funding will top board discussion

Discussion of the status of outdoor advertising signs, rail mitigation strategies and the department’s FY15 appropriation request will be the primary topics at the transportation board’s Jan. 16 meeting at Headquarters.

Outdoor Advertising Sign Status
Every year, staff reports on the status of the state’s outdoor advertising signs. At the end of federal fiscal year 2013, there were five illegal signs, all in districts 2 and 4. Every district had at least 15 non-conforming signs. That category totaled 190, with district 3 reporting the most, 67, and district 2 the least, 15.

Illegal signs do not comply with state and/or federal law and must be removed. Non-conforming signs at one time complied with state and/or federal law, but have fallen out of conformance by changes in conditions, such as new rules or roadway widening or realignment. Non-conforming signs are allowed to remain in place but cannot be replaced or improved.

Railroad-ITD Mitigation Strategies
Staff will request the addition of a Railroad-ITD Mitigation Strategies project to the FY14 Program.

The department received a $25,000 Strategic Highway Research Program User Incentive grant from the Federal Highway Administration. The intent of the grant is for ITD and Idaho’s major rail partners to work cooperatively to delineate responsibilities and identify policy and program changes to expedite project delivery for construction projects involving highways at railroad crossings.

The grant will be used to hire a consultant to assist with establishing best practices for partnering with the railroad companies. The goal is to create a standardized institutional agreement to increase collaboration, reduce project delays and streamline resources.

FY15 Appropriation Request
The department’s FY15 appropriation request was adjusted based on the governor’s budget recommendation, which was released on Jan. 6.

The main change was the elimination of the proposed 1 percent change in employee compensation, totaling almost $1 million. Other revisions included a fee increase of $25,300 for the Idaho Technology Authority and an additional $65,900 for contract construction. The total funding request is $576,240,700, which needs legislative approval.

Published 1-10-14