ACHD Assets Used For Race

After the local TV newsies ran a press release from the Ada County Highway District about clearing snow for the Race to Robie Creek, the GUARDIAN got a couple of inquiries questioning the propriety of plowing the road for the event.

ACHD maintains they remove snow on the road each spring and are just doing it a bit early this year to help out with the race because the Aldape Summit area is choked with snow.

When we chided them about doing work in Boise County with ACHD resources, we were assured it is “less than one quarter mile of road outside ada county.” Then we got a story about erosion control, that somehow it is safer and better for the road to have the snow removed in lieu of a natural slow melt off. Also, Boise County supposedly does a “pay back” by grading the roadway.

We were referred to Boise County’s road department where the top dog Bill Jones told us, “It is all for the race. After the snow is removed by Ada County we go in and run a blade over it to smooth things out.” He added Boise County probably wouldn’t do anything on their own given the cost of the project.

ACHD provided us with images of the snow clearing effort taken Tuesday and report that at least four pieces of heavy equipment (probably with at least 6 workers) will spend “a couple days” clearing the path for runners. They entered the area via Highway 21 some 25 plus miles from Boise.

The GUARDIAN has admittedly not visited the area, but the county line is at the top of the ridge and experience tells us there is always a bunch of snow on the Boise County side in the pines and on the higher elevation of the Robie Creek Road.

We were unable to determine if the ACHD board of commissioners authorized the use of the equipment for the project or the actual cost. The GUARDIAN estimates the cost is well in excess of $8,000 if nothing needs to be repaired.


Comments & Discussion

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  1. Look at this another way: If the ACHD said it wouldn’t plow beyond the Ada line, and if Boise County said they didn’t care if the road was unplowed, we’d see stories saying, “Stupid local governments – thousands of people in a popular community event and they can’t even get the road plowed for them. So much for regional cooperation.”

    I think it’s great the ACHD and Boise County are working together to get the road ready for the Robie Creek Race. As a matter of policy, however, the Commission should be made aware of and vote to approve the use of ACHD resources outside the county.

  2. G-Man, why do you make people THINK? Can’t you just give it a rest and let them spend our money without always looking over their shoulder?

    Looking at the pictures provided I can attest they are MUCH further into Boise county than 1/4 mile. The distant hills appear to be along Lucky Peak Reservoir.

  3. 8,000 divided by the number of runners equals the appropriate fee for each participant.

  4. “…better for the road to have the snow removed in lieu of a natural slow melt off….”

    Just because I live in Boise doesn’t mean I’m a flat lander. Damage by runoff is not limited to what’s on the road. The vast majority of gully washing runoff comes from the uphill slopes.

    So why don’t they plow the 8th St road as well?

    This is for the race, and nothing else. If the Race to Robie organization doesn’t reimburse ACHD then something is wrong. I urge Race to Robie coordinators to stand up and do the right thing and pay for the plowing.

    Meanwhile, 27th Street continues to be the busiest residential street in all of Ada County and once again ACHD has postponed construction of the 30th Street Extension. But not the East Parkcenter Bridge.

  5. Probably just one more reason that some county roads get so little maintenance and the weeds along the right of ways are no longer sprayed out here. The powers that direct the expenditures of Ada Co taxes and resources are too busy fomenting the illusion of cooperation and friendliness of the “locals” in their never ending obsessive quest for growth and tourism.
    Wish we had known last winter of ACHD’s compulsion to plow non-Ada Co owned gravel roads. We would have let them practice clearing the drifts on our “quarter mile” lane and driveway. And we ARE in Ada County, albeit SW Ada County (and no, we’re not just west of Meridian.) I don’t mind doing it myself but perhaps they could give me a small rebate from our mandatory highway taxes to help defray the high fuel and maintenance costs on my equipment.
    I care even less about the spandex crowd’s silly foot race than I do about seeing two to four lanes of them parked on the freeway between Caldwell and Boise twice a day.

  6. So ACHD DOES have snow removal equipment. They just don’t use it on roads in Ada County.

    Seriously, this is just another example of ACHD using tax dollars in a way that does not really benefit those that pay the taxes. Yes, yes I know a lot if not all, the runners to Robie Creek are from Boise/Ada County but the road is not in Ada County. For example, if a lot of runners from Ada County ran the Boston Marathon, should ACHD use resources there? Of course not, and they should not use it in another county unless they are reimbursed? Were they? No.

    Good to see that the ACHD propaganda department is running on all cylinders though. They came up with 4 excuses why this is good. What was the staff cost of that I wonder.

  7. ACHD isn’t alone in its shameless expenditure of taxpayer dollars for self-promotion.

    How much did Ada County spend, including staff resources, on that 28-page, 4-color insert in the Daily Paper last week?

    What a crock.

  8. What about the revenue brought to Ada County by the race? To many whiners on this site. Sometimes I want to barf reading all of these armchair commentaries.

  9. Cartographer
    Mar 19, 2008, 8:22 am

    I never thought I would find myself defending ACHD, but the Guardian’s statement, “the county line is at the top of the ridge” is wrong. The Ada County line is not defined by the top of the ridge.

    Most of the northern portion of the ridge top is in Boise County. The southern portion, including Aldape summit is in Ada County. And, the first mile of the road descending the east side of the ridge toward Robie Creek, ie the highest, snowiest, north facing portion, is also in Ada County.

    It is hard to tell with certainty, but the top picture is almost certainly in Ada County. The lower one may or may not be in Ada.

    On a separate note, the “Race to Robie Creek” is a pain the the keester to people who live in the Robie Creek area. Ingress / egress is severely restricted for a day or two around race day, and If any Boise County businesses benefit from the event I don’t know who they are. In short, the race is a party of, by, and for the people and businesses in Ada County. If the race must go forward, it is the people and businesses of Ada County who should pick up the tab for plowing the road.

    Still, it is hard to defend ACHD for using public funds in support of a private event. The best solution would be for the race organizers to fund the plowing operation.

    EDITOR NOTE–Cartographer, we agree with your geography. Thanks for the lesson and comments.

  10. Is there data hiding behind your statement “[Bill at Boise Country road department] added Boise County probably wouldn’t do anything on their own given the cost of the project.” Wouldn’t do what on thier own? What project?

    It seems Ada removes snow into Boise, and Boise grades into Ada. You’ve presented quotation indicating both ACHD and BCRD say this is what happens. Is there historical data proving this does/does not happen? If not, I have to go with the quotes.

    If you have a quote that indicates that Boise does not plan to do equivalent grading work at an appropriate time (before or after the race, it really doesn’t matter), or that there is not overall cost savings vs. a more heavy-handed, that’s-your-side/this-is-my-side approach, get back to us. Or, if Boise does not follow through, and Ada ends up grading, or the road doesn’t get graded at all and falls into ruin, get back to us.

    With the data provided so far, this seems to be a reasonable plan.

    EDITOR NOTE–I think if there is any “conclusion” to be made it is the real reason for the snow removal–for better or worse–was for the race.

  11. If this is the most grievous sin commited by ACHD, then I’m good with it. The idea of a county agency responding to such an event is actually refreshing.
    Now, when the real dirt, if there is any, is brought forth, THEN we can lynch them from that boom on the snowblower! Until then, we should be pleased a few of our tax dollars are going for something good.

    EDITOR NOTE–Don’t know if it is a sin or even a “minor infraction.” Appears the official length of snow removal in Boise county is about 1/2 mile.

  12. I don’t know how ACHD justifies spending money and resources on this but wouldn’t even clear the snow on the major arterials after any of the recent snow storms.

    Has anyone checked to see if any of the ACHD Commissioners run in the Race to Robie Creek?

  13. “What about the revenue brought to Ada County by the race?”
    So my tax dollars are going to (once again) serve businesses in town that really do nothing for the people. goodie, goodie.

    So, have a pre race of people with their snow shovels cleaning off the road. The right publicity would draw crowds of people to the area, millions in revenue to Ada County… the very first race of it’s kind in the world. Hop to it folks!! Two events to bring that revenue into the pockets of the few, the famous, the spuds of the county. Oh… and wear the roads a bit more, but the taxpayers will take that in the shorts as well.

  14. If what you say about Ada is the does the plowing and Boise County does the road grading, then I great to see some government agencies that can work together without fighting.

    What about a little fair and balanced reporting? How come there are no quotes from the race’ s organizers. Or at least a glance at the website to find they donated $57,200 in 2007 to local organizations.

  15. Hey folks,

    The Race to Robie Creek is a great race, a great event that that draws thousands of people who have a great time while improving their health and fitness. I don’t have any heartburn with ACHD for plowing Rocky Canyon Road, even if most of the snow-bound portion of the road lies in Boise County.

    What does really make me mad every fall is when ACHD goes into Rocky Canyon with a cat and a side blade and they whack the hell out of the vegetation next to Cottonwood Creek to improve visibility on the single-lane dirt road. They overdo it every time, destroying a ton of bird habitat and the riparian area.


  16. I have always felt that the best place in this country is on the same lane as the county commissioner or road dept chairman. Your potholes are filled and your snow is plowed.

    I also feel that the ACHD plowing of Robie Creek Rd is appropriate. It was certainely a lot more peacfull living around here when everyone was not trying to point out dirt on the other. In this case as pointed out, ACHD would be damned if they didn’t and they are being damned because they did.

  17. Heck, I dunno whether it’s good or bad that the outfit that says it won’t clean it’s own roads unless they’re really, really, really bad cuz it doesn’t have equipment, money, personnel or whatever will clean up for the race.
    But why not just give each of the racers a pair of snowshoes and let ’em race regardless of conditions. Heck, anybody who’s crazy enough — er, I mean tough enough — to run up that hill oughta be crazy — er, tough — enough to do at least part of it on snowshoes.
    C’mon, wimps!

  18. Oh, wow! Until the pics in this posting I didn’t know that ACHD even owned a rotary snow plow, kind of a special tool for a county that’s mostly flat and desert. And how do the Boise County crews get up there to grade the road if the deeper backside of the mountain road isn’t plowed?

  19. Jane,

    Regarding you comment that, “It was certainely a lot more peacfull living around here when everyone was not trying to point out dirt on the other.”

    While just about every road in the county west of Cole is a traffic disaster right now, ACHD is spending $20 million to build the east parkcenter bridge to a serve a subdivision that won’t mature for 20 years. Seems to me we cannot assign enough auditors to monitor that band of incompetents.

  20. Truth & Reason
    Mar 19, 2008, 9:06 pm

    Much to about nothing.

  21. Its simple, if you want to have an event, you are expected to pay for whatever improvements or changes are needed to hold it.

    How are these people exempt from that simple rule?

    Pass the cost on to the registration fees for these people.

  22. Clancy wrote:

    “… they donated $57,200 in 2007 to local organizations….”

    Sorry Clancy, but that’s a red herring. First, I think they have to give their profits away to maintain their non-profit status. I’m guessing R to R is a 501c3. Don’t know for sure, though.

    Besides, I didn’t see any donation to ACHD, why not? Why not donate to ACHD an amount equal to the cost of the plowing. I don’t buy the preventative plowing argument, like I asked, and nobody answered, why don’t they do the 8th St extension as well.

    Truth and Reason wrote:

    “Much ado about nothing.”

    I disagree. This is one sweet example among many. Together, they add up to big bucks. Over the years, I’ve been a staunch supporter of ACHD, but not on this issue.

    Finally, sorry for being a broken record, but in my neighborhood, 27th St, between Main and State is the busiest residential street in all of Ada County. ACHD, and no other local or State gov’t entity has spent any significant amount of money in the West End for many years. We pay taxes just like everyone else.

    That is why the Veterans Park Neighborhood Association is now getting organized after years of inactivity. If we’re going to pay taxes, then we would like some of it spent in our neigborhood, at least once in a while.

  23. I have an idea that would make everyone happy. How about the organizers of this much beloved race push it later in the spring or early summer when snow plowing would not be necessary. Next, ACHD stop spending my tax money in counties other than Ada. God I’m good.

  24. runningfor the first tim
    Mar 23, 2008, 4:58 am

    Can you all whine a little more….get over your self

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