Friday, May 3, 2019

COMPASS Quarterly Update

Over the last several years, COMPASS has released quarterly email updates to highlight progress on the current regional long-range transportation plan for Ada and Canyon Counties. The most recent plan, Communities in Motion 2040 2.0 (CIM 2040 2.0) was adopted in December 2018.

We’re moving these email updates here to the Executive Director’s Blog, to help you stay abreast of both the behind-the-scene planning process and opportunities for you to be involved.

In each quarterly blog I will share highlights of work that has been accomplished since the last update and provide a preview of what is planned before the next – including both the implementation of CIM 2040 2.0 and the development of the new plan.

For those of you who are curious, past CIM 2040 2.0 email updates are available on the CIM 2040 2.0 webpage.

Last Three Months

So, what’s new since January, you ask?

In the last three months, our focus has been on finalizing CIM 2040 2.0 and preparing for our next plan. After adoption by the COMPASS Board of Directors in December 2018, we wrapped up our loose ends – completing the online document and printing the CIM 2040 2.0 summary brochure (available in both English and Spanish) to distribute to the public. In addition, COMPASS received an Idaho Transportation Department “Excellence in Transportation – Planning” award for the Performance Measure Framework developed to help prioritize projects for Communities in Motion.

Just as quickly as we celebrated our finalized plan, we moved our attention toward the future. First, a process was proposed for developing the next regional long-range transportation plan. Next, a draft work plan, budget, and public participation plan were created to guide that process. Additionally, we hosted a Complete Streets workshop to kick off the update to the COMPASS complete streets policy, as part of the long-range plan update.

Next Three Months

With this initial prep work done, COMPASS will continue to prepare for the next plan in the ensuing months. What does this look like? Our staff will take the draft work plan and budget to the COMPASS Board of Directors in June 2019 with a request for approval. Once the work plan and budget have been approved, the work on the new plan officially begins. Alongside these efforts, we will also develop the Annual Resource Development Plan to guide efforts to fund projects that support CIM 2040 2.0 goals.

With a forecasted population of 1.022 million by 2040, the goal of each plan is to ensure that Ada and Canyon Counties remain a healthy and economically vibrant region that offers people choices in how and where they live, work, play, and travel.

It is our priority to ensure that we are actively working towards this goal and it is my hope that this quarterly update gives you a window into the ways in which COMPASS is preparing for the future.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Transportation and Legislation: How do they relate?

Idaho is currently the fastest-growing state in the nation – with Ada and Canyon Counties leading the charge. While this growth is an exceptional testament to how wonderful the Treasure Valley is, it will also add an increased strain to our transportation system.

As I’ve said before and will say again, transportation is essential to the health of our economy. Without a well-functioning system, our economy, our quality of life, and the choices available to get around all suffer.

Based on conservative estimates, the region is more than $5.4 billion short of meeting transportation needs between now and 2040 – that’s an average of about $235 million per year, a little less than $1 per day per person living in Ada and Canyon Counties.

Each year, the COMPASS Board of Directors takes positions on transportation issues before the Idaho State Legislature that are of importance to COMPASS member agencies.

The 2019 positions, consistent with previous years, focus primarily on the transportation funding shortfall facing the Treasure Valley, in addition to legislation to allow the use of high occupancy vehicle lanes:

·         Transportation Revenue
The COMPASS Board of Directors supports increasing and diversifying dedicated revenue for state and local transportation systems, including for transit and alternative transportation modes. 

·         Extend “Surplus Eliminator” Provision for Transportation
The COMPASS Board of Directors supports extending the “surplus eliminator” transportation funding mechanism and maintaining a 60/40 state/local share of those funds.

·         Local Option Sales Tax Authority
     The COMPASS Board of Directors strongly supports local option sales tax authority legislation. 

·         Regional Public Transportation Authority Funding Alternatives 
The COMPASS Board of Directors supports a voter-approved property tax funding mechanism for Idaho’s Regional Public Transportation Authorities. 

·         High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
The COMPASS Board of Directors supports statutory authority to allow utilization of high occupancy vehicle lanes on state and local highways. 

·         Safe Routes to Schools
The COMPASS Board of Directors endorses state support for safe, community-oriented non-motorized transportation. 

Yes – a funding shortfall of $235 million per year is significant. But I strongly believe that through the collaboration of COMPASS member agencies, the Idaho Legislature, and the public, reducing, and one day eliminating, this shortfall is absolutely achievable.

To read the full text of COMPASS’ state legislative position statements, as well as COMPASS’ 2019 federal position statements, follow this link:

To learn more about the transportation funding shortfall facing the Treasure Valley, I urge you to review the financial plan for our recently adopted regional long-range transportation plan, Communities in Motion 2040 2.0.

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.