Highway Money Goes To Consultants

–Ada County Highway District paid $115,000 for a consultation by the Urban Land Institute to tell them what they wanted to hear. Namely that 6 cities within the county have to stick to their comprehensive master plans and ACHD should work with them. In short, everyone should play nice. The GUARDIAN would have told them the same thing for half the money.

–Not to be outdone, the Idaho Department of transportation ponied up $600,000 to survey past and present vendors. A Texas consultant did the phone survey work and contacted Tony Jones–the guy who wants to keep the houses off Hammer Flat at the Cliffs Development who is also an economic consultant.

Here is part of Tony’s rap on the subject: “BUY IDAHO. And, get some real bids. $600,000 for this gig is high by about $500,000. For an agency that is perpetually broke, and has to borrow from the Feds to fund projects long overdue, the least ITD could do is spend the money in state where it will stimulate secondary economic activity and generate tax receipts. If nothing else, Idaho needs the money a lot more than Texas.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Obviously you didn’t get much out of the presentation today. I wonder how an well an “Alliance” will really work. Especially when the elected officials want everything to be worked out for them. Not actually work at making progress in the county. I do agree that splitting up ACHD is a poor idea. The duplication of costs, the lack of a cohesive transportation system is not what we need. If you’ve been the Canyon County and dealt with the consortium of highway departments there, you’d get a better understanding of why having a consolidated highway district is not a bad idea. Plus, it keeps the City of Eagle from installing gates and moats around their city.

  2. Dave, I have to disagree with you on the upshot of the ULI report. It didn’t tell ACHD what they wanted to hear it told them what they NEEDED to hear. Basically it was a slap to ACHD. They were told in no certain terms that they don’t play well with others, that they need to let the public have a say on projects BEFORE they are designed, and that they should just be a construction agency. Franden at the end made the statement this is one report that won’t sit on the shelf. If that is true, then we are in for some big changes out of ACHD.

    The other stuff on the Alliance and the need for massive new taxes may not fly so well. The alliance kind of sounds like a rehash of compass so that remains to be seen. But I think ACHD overplayed their hand on this one. Those arrogant fools thought they’d have ULI tout their great works and instead got just the opposite.

  3. Does it really matter who got their hand slapped with this report? I believe that we can find common ground in that the ACHD has not had the best ear with regard to their responses to citizen concerns.

    The Ustick extension comes to mind in that there is no question that we need to move some of the traffic off of Fairview. But when you tell the folks along Ustick that no one cares about their feelings, no wonder they get peeved. When Dave Bieter huffs out of meetings with the ACHD and does nothing concrete to try and reach a solution,(other than to sue them) then the city loses credibility with the citizens as well.

    I don’t believe that it is so much of a question “of playing nice” as it is one of “we elected you to do a job, now go do it!!” I for one, am getting quite tired of watching elected officials, both on the highway commission and the mayors office acting like petulent children! We elected them to do the job and I don’t think it is unfair of us to expect that the job be done!

    EDITOR NOTE–There are elections in November, but at this point we have nothing but incumbents running. What does that say about our “expectations?”

  4. cyclops, I more than anyone know that ACHD did not listen to us on Ustick Rd. They have literally stolen property from some people and then left them with nothing useful. I am not enamored with the City of Boise, believe me, I think they could have done more. I wish they had sued ACHD. Actually it was the other way around, ACHD sued the City and when ACHD won the City folded their tents rather than appeal.

    But believe this, ACHD is loathsome. The commissioners do NOT listen to anyone. They are arrogant and foolish and rude and horrible. Anyone who has had to deal with them personally is of one mind on this.

    Please read the full report. It is posted at the ACHD website. Don’t bother reading the propaganda that one of the SEVEN ACHD spokesmouths wrote. Go right to the preliminary report.

    I have no doubt that ACHD will find a way to sleaze out from doing anything thereby wasting another $110,000. That is why it is important for voters to educate themselves and then talk with their legislators about making permanent changes.

    Try this to see if ACHD has any intention of changing. UStick from Maple Grove to Cole can be revised because they have not purchased a lot of the property yet. Ask ACHD to stop the 5 lane road on this section. After all doing 5 lanes is ridiculous because east of Cole will still be three lanes and west of Five mile will still be 2 lanes.

    Oh and Cyclops, Fairview is a major arterial supposed to be widened to 7 lanes. It’s supposed to take the largest amount of traffic. Destroying neighborhoods, particularly in the configuration I told you about 3 lanes, 5 lanes, 2 lanes is a travesty. Why not take a field trip and you can see exactly what’s what.

  5. Reply to TXN

    And there is something wrong with “gates and moats”?
    I would have a one lane access only toll draw bridge if it were up to me.

    (Elderly retired toll booth workers also)

  6. Well, as long as we raise the bridge, close the gates and keep the Eaglefornians out of Boise, I’d be happy.

  7. Mike and TXN — Love the gates and moats — frankly we need them throughout the Treasure Valley — that would be some real traffic calming devices.

    As to splitting up ACHD, there is not one government entity in Ada County ready to take on the road building and maintenance duties. In addition, the territory is one big blob of urban area so dividing up the duties makes no sense at all.

    However, voters do need to reclaim the highway district. Currently the folks in the driver’s seat have tunnel vision at a minimum. My hunch is it’s a much bigger problem than that. Throwing some sunshine on the agency by a news medium actually covering the day-to-day actions of the agency would certainly help citizens understand better what is at stake. But I suppose that is too much to hope for.

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