STIP workshop will lead transportation board return to Boise for April meeting

Following a visit to District 2 in north-central Idaho in March, the Idaho Transportation Board will return to ITD Headquarters in Boise for its April meeting.  On April 27, the board will have a workshop to update the 2017-21 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.

At the business meeting, April 28, staff will request approval of the mid-year programming plan to advance projects.

Additional funding has become available from the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, through favorable bids, project closeouts, salary savings, and because of projects that were advanced at the end of the previous fiscal year. Upon board approval, approximately 35 projects statewide totaling more than $100 million will be advanced in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The majority of projects are for pavement preservation and restoration.

National Summer Transportation Institute award
The board will also be asked to add the FY16 National Summer Transportation Institute project to the program.

ITD applied for and received a discretionary grant in the amount of $72,611. The grant will be given to Idaho State University to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) with an emphasis in transportation. ISU was awarded grants the past three years.

Two camps will be held this summer with hands-on activities that will motivate and educate at-risk students in STEM. The camps will encourage students to consider transportation-related careers of study in their higher education pursuits and provide awareness about transportation careers to middle school and high school students.

Although the camps are targeted to reach all student populations, a strong focus will be centered on students from the neighboring Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the Hispanic population around Blackfoot, along with disadvantaged, minority, and female students.

Strategic Initiatives Program Fund development
The department received $57 million in FY16 state funding for the Strategic Initiative Program Fund. Projects selected for this funding came from the FY16-20 approved Idaho Transportation Improvement Program and were delivered for advertisement. Funding for the FY17 Strategic Initiative Program Fund is uncertain and will not be known until mid-July because it comes from surplus revenue to the state’s General Fund.

To provide for program stability and to reduce the backlog of aging and commerce-restricting bridges, staff recommends funding groups of design-build bridge projects with future Strategic Initiative Program Funds. A number of bridges suitable for design-build have been identified; however, these projects are not currently identified in the program, so funding for development is not available.

In order to get the projects ready for advertising in January when ITD expects to receive authority to expend the funds, staff will be requesting board approval to use almost $1.5 million of Board Unallocated Program funds to secure resources to scope and provide initial design concepts required for the design-build contract solicitation.

Published 04-22-16