ITD presents budget request to Idaho Legislature

The Idaho Department of Transportation (IDT) on Monday presented its 2016 budget request to the legislature’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, seeking adequate funding for Idaho’s roads and bridges.

IDT Director Brian Ness presented the governor’s recommendation for a $555.5 million budget, of which federal funds on average make up approximately 54 percent of IDT's annual revenue.

Ness told committee members that in 2010, the Governor’s Task on Modernizing Transportation Funding in Idaho found that the state has a $543 million annual shortfall in transportation funding. Of that, $262 million is needed annually just to preserve the system in the condition it is in today.

“I believe our budget recommendation reflects my philosophy of better serving the citizens, not ourselves,” Ness said, adding that internal changes at ITD have placed the department in an excellent position to address the state’s most desperate infrastructure needs. His presentation also showed that while Idaho’s roads and bridges have aged well and withstood the tests of time, bridges need to be updated to last far beyond their average life of 40 to 60 years if the department will not fund improvements.

“At the rate Idaho currently funds its bridges, they must last 120 years,” he said. “And we have hundreds of old bridges. Every one of them is an impediment to the state’s economy, and we are working hard to replace as many as we can with current funding.”

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Idaho Transportation Department

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