After 40 years with the Idaho National Guard, Gen. James Brooks knows something about logistics, funding and administration of public policy. He applied that valuable expertise to improving public transportation in Idaho as a member of the Public Transportation Advisory Council.
To recognize his service and his June retirement from the council, members presented the general with a plaque, their sincere thanks and best wishes on Nov. 30. Members of the PTAC paused during a working lunch to join Transportation Board Chairman Charles Winder in presenting the plaque.
Gen. Brooks, 78, served in the National Guard during the terms of three governors (two terms under Gov. Cecil Andrus). After retiring, he wanted to continue public service and in 1994 was appointed to the PTAC as the District 3 representative. He was chair of the public transportation council from January 1997 to Aug. 2003 and closed out his tenure with two years as vice chairman.
At 78, the retired general remains active in community organizations, serving as an alternate for the city of Eagle on the governing board of Valley Regional Transit.
The plaque was presented “for dedicated service to the Public Transportation Advisory Council, Idaho Transportation Department." Signers included Winder, ITD Director Dave Ekern, Laurence Falkner (administrator of ITD’s Division of Public Transportation) and Robert Scott Jr., presiding chair of PTAC.
As a representative on the council, Gen. Books contributed to discussions on issues related to public transportation needs and services. He watched the program grow from about $12 million to nearly $100 million under the present federal authorization.
The council helps communities address and respond to the needs for transit services during a period of rapid population growth.
PTAC reports to the transportation board, provides input on public transportation services statewide and helps the board prioritize the funding of grant applications. The council meets quarterly and maintains strong working relationships with local organizations and government agencies.