Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Prioritizing: Time, Money, and Transportation

Summer is in full swing here in the Treasure Valley, and with the rise in temperature comes an abundance of fun activities to explore with your friends and family. From camping, swimming, and hiking, to attending concerts and enjoying community events, the list of things to do can seem practically endless.

To fit the most into your summer, you’ve most likely made a budget for both your time and money. Your calendar is filled from June through September with vacation days you’ve saved up and your piggy bank is heavier than it was in January.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to check off every bullet on your vacation bucket list – you have to prioritize. Those items that don't quite fit into this year’s summer "budget" may fall onto next year’s calendar. And, with opportunities like unexpected raises or free weekends, new activities can be added into your summer plans.  

Just like this, COMPASS must prioritize the region’s five-year budget of transportation projects. The budget – the Regional Transportation Improvement Program, or “TIP,” – is updated each year as new projects are added and old projects are completed and removed - similar to checking off those summer bucket list items!

The draft TIP contains over 150 other federally funded, state funded, and “regionally significant” projects that address regional transportation needs. Projects in the TIP range from large to small, and from roads, bridges, and buses, to pathways, sidewalks, and more. Most are proposed for funding between FY2019 and 2023, though some projects in the early planning stages are in the budget in preparation for construction or implementation beyond 2023.

But, we don’t update the TIP in a vacuum. Over the next month, we’re asking you to review and comment on the proposed projects. Are they the transportation projects you think are highest priority?

In addition to this opportunity, we’re also asking for comments on a proposed change to Communities in Motion 2040, the regional long-range transportation plan for Ada and Canyon Counties. The change would add a study to evaluate the environmental impacts of widening State Highway 55 from two lanes to five lanes in Canyon County, from Sunny Slope Road to Middleton Road.

Just like when choosing which summer plans to prioritize over others, we must do the same with transportation projects in terms of time, budget, and necessity. Defining our community goals, evaluating the “regionally significant” transportation projects, and building a budget that addresses the most pressing needs throughout Ada and Canyon Counties will help the Treasure Valley continue to be the place we know and love.

Tell us if you agree with the projects proposed for funding and the proposed change to Communities in Motion 2040. The COMPASS Board will be provided with all public comments before making any decisions in October.
Enjoy the remainder of your summer and all that the Treasure Valley has to offer!

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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.