Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Strong Transportation System = Strong Economy

Last February, as part of our 2014 education series, COMPASS hosted Chandler Duncan, EDR Group, to speak on transportation infrastructure and how it affects our economy.

This February – February 5 and 6 to be exact – we are hosting Todd Litman, founder of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, to speak about the same topic as part of our 2015 education series.

Why are we talking about the same topic again this year? Haven’t we heard it all?

I think a better question is why don’t we talk about the relationship of transportation and the economy every year? The two are intricately tied; strong transportation infrastructure is a necessity for a strong economy. On the other side of the coin, a strong economy can strengthen our transportation infrastructure, if we choose to let it.

Below, I quote a few “factoids” from Mr. Duncan’s presentations in February 2014 that demonstrate how our transportation system supports our economy:

  • In 2013, Idaho exported $33 billion of goods
  • $16.8 billion of exports were carried over Idaho roads by truck alone
  • That number jumps to $22 billion if we combine truck and truck/rail exports
  • The goods exported by truck alone supported 97,000 jobs and over $4 million in wages in 2013
  • Wages in “traded” industries (industries that bring money in from out of state, such as exports) were 23% higher than the average Idaho income in 2012
But, while transportation is supporting our economy, we aren’t supporting it:
  • The Idaho fuel tax has remained unchanged at 25 cents per gallon since 1996, paying for 36% less than it did 19 years ago.
  • The federal fuel tax has fallen even further behind, remaining unchanged at 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline (24.4 cents for diesel) since 1993.
I invite you to consider these figures and what they mean to you and to your personal bottom line, then join COMPASS as we welcome Todd Litman on February 5 and 6 as he shares his perspective and research on the relationship of transportation and our economy.

The more we know about the relationship between transportation and our economy, the better prepared we are to make informed decisions.

…Don’t let the Treasure Valley fall through the cracks

Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho

COMPASS is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for transportation planning in Ada and Canyon Counties. The COMPASS Board comprises 39 members representing the cities, counties, highway districts, educational institutions, state agencies, and other entities within the two counties. COMPASS plays an important role in making decisions about future long-range transportation needs in the Treasure Valley, taking into consideration environmental and economic factors that affect the quality of life.