Board adds three projects to STIP

The Idaho Transportation Board added three public transportation projects to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) during its March 16-17 meeting in Boise.

Both ITD and Valley Regional Transit (VRT) submitted applications to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for a “State of Good Repair” Bus and Bus Facilities Initiative grant last year. The program is designed to improve the condition of the nation’s public transportation fleet through vehicle replacement, rehabilitation and improvements; construction of transit centers and maintenance facilities; and development and implementation of public transportation fleet management systems.

Although $100,000 was requested, ITD was awarded $30,000 to continue developing a fleet and facility management subsystem for the Idaho Transportation Reimbursement Integration and Performance System. The grant will support the bus maintenance and facility needs of service providers across the state. With the required match, the project will total $37,500.

VRT’s application was to replace transit vehicles in the Boise Urbanized Area. It was awarded $597,000, which will be combined with the $149,400 local match for a total of $747,000.

The city of Moscow and the University of Idaho are partnering to build an Intermodal Transit Center in Moscow. The facility will serve local transit in Moscow and intercity transportation into Washington and along the U.S. 95/Idaho 55 corridor from Coeur d’Alene to Boise. The city of Moscow obtained a $1.5 million federal Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery II grant to assist with the construction of the facility.

Addition of U.S. 93, Twin Falls Alternate Route to State System
With the exception of some minor tasks, the U.S.

93, Twin Falls Alternate Route has been completed. The project was constructed in two stages, starting in 2004. It consisted of reconstructing existing local roads and construction new ones. The intent was to remove traffic to and through downtown Twin Falls move more safely and efficiently.

ITD signed cooperative agreements with local jurisdictions in 2004 to facilitate ongoing roadway maintenance within the corridor until construction was completed. The plan was that an eight-mile segment of U.S. 93, Twin Falls Alternate Rouge would become part of the state system upon completion of the project. The transportation board cleared the way for that transfer at its March meeting.

The old highway through Twin Falls will be retained on the state’s system and signed as U.S. 93 Business; however, the district has been discussing with the city of Twin Falls relinquishing that segment to the city. No agreement has been reached to date.

Human Resources Annual Report
Staff from Human Resource Services presented an annual report of the section's activities the past year, including training and fair employment practices.

HRS made a concerted effort to accommodate employees and facilitate their return to work. Some of those activities included assistance because of a driving limitation, assistance with lifting and use of specialized computer hardware and software to assist with a developmental reading disorder.

The total hours of sick and medical leave, including accidents, was 156,836 in calendar year 2010. This compares to 156,129 hours in 2009.

The total turnover rate was 4.7 percent while the average rate from 2007 to 2009 was 9.2 percent.

The aging workforce continues to be a concern. As of December 2010, 103 employees, or 6 percent, are eligible to retire. An additional 332 employees (19 percent), will reach the Rule of 90, becoming eligible for retirement, in the next six years. In other words, by 2016, over 435 employees are projected to retire -- or 25 percent of the staff. A workforce development plan and a succession plan are being created to address this potential wave of retirements.

There were 15 equal employment opportunity complaints field with ITD the past year, most of which were related to sexual harassment and race.

Training and development program activities included training to prevent conflict in the work place. HRS is making training videos accessible to employees via the Intranet, and is providing training in remote locations. It also conducted supervisor and lead-worker academies that focused on hiring, employment law and leadership.

Published 3-25-2011