Wednesday, August 24, 2016

TIP Top Ten

Every year about this time, I write to encourage you to comment on the update to the Regional Transportation Improvement Program, or “TIP” – a five-year budget of federally funded and regionally significant transportation projects. Like any budget, it is detailed and can be intimidating.

That said, your feedback is important. I’ve developed my own “Top 10” list of why you should take the time to review and comment on the FY2017 – 2021 TIP, which is open for public comment through September 19, 2016.

10.       The population of Ada and Canyon Counties is expected to increase by over 440,000 people by the year 2040, for a total forecasted population of 1.022 million. That’s a lot more people using our transportation system.

9.         $80.3 billion worth of freight travels on I-84 each year. Transportation is key to our economic growth.

8.         Idaho received a “C-” on its American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure report card.

7.         The TIP budgets federal transportation funding, but the federal gas tax that supplies most of that funding has not been raised since 1993. Needless to say, that money doesn’t go nearly as far as it did 23 years ago.

6.         Time spent in traffic is time away from your family and business. The time it takes to travel from Caldwell to Boise is forecasted to double by 2040.

5.         The Federal Highway Administration estimates that every $1 spent on road, highway, and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5, in the form of reduced vehicle and road maintenance costs, delays, fuel consumption, and emissions, as well as improvements to safety as a result of improved traffic flow.

4.         30% of Idaho’s major roads are in poor condition. Driving on poor roads costs each Idaho motorist an average of $519 per year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs. The TIP is focused on maintenance to address these issues.

3.         Roadway conditions are a significant factor in approximately one-third of traffic fatalities. One-hundred eight-six people died on Idaho roads (statewide) in 2014.

2.         It’s easier than ever to see how projects in the TIP align with regional goals. With each project description you will see a menu that shows which performance measures are met (from Communities in Motion 2040) that specific project supports.

1.         Projects included in the FY2017 – 2021 are budgeted at over $370 million, but we are still $150 million short of meeting transportation needs, each year, in Ada and Canyon Counties.

Our quality of life is directly tied to the quality of our transportation system. That, combined with a growing population and limited transportation funding, leads to some very tough decisions. Your input is needed to ensure we are making the best investments possible.

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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.