City Government

Boise Refuses Voter Voice In Funding

Boise skies will be filled with big airplanes and the freeway will be crowded with trucks if Team Dave gets its way and industrializes the area around the airport.
Based on testimony before the Idaho Legislature last week, the city needed a constitutional amendment to make it easier to obtain financing for facilities because the west coast airports are so crowded the big overseas air freighters need a hub inland–and “if we build it they will come” to Boise.

Meanwhile, parking is at a premium at the passenger terminal. Team Dave and the City Council refuse to allow voters the opportunity to approve a new parking garage–which would be funded by user fees, not taxes.

The Daily Paper reports that Mayor Dave Bieter “Won’t discuss funding options being considered.” Seems Team Dave prefers to operate in secret rather than allow the public a voice in their government.

They attempted to build a new parking garage without a vote of the citizens as required by the constitution. When the Supreme Court ruled against them, declaring their scheme in violation of the constitution, they paid professional lobbyists to influence the legislature in an attempt to change the constitution. That move also failed.

Now, the city is spinning their campaign in the Daily Paper to justify the “need” for a new control tower and a third runway south of the existing airport. Put bluntly, ridership at the current airport simply does not justify a major facilities expansion.

Boise’s airport has a history of being disingenuous when it comes to their objectives. On the original parking proposal they dedicated 40% of the facility to rental car agencies…sounds good on the face of it, but those agencies currently pay property taxes for roads, schools, city, and county services. Once in the government garage, they would be in a TAX FREE facility and the rest of us make up the difference–little as it may be.

The freight hub is a “business plan” of the airport and it is aimed at creating GROWTH for growth sake. The GUARDIAN advocates providing facilities for passengers coming and going from our fair city–we do not advocate using public money to create industrial growth and the increased air/highway traffic.

Conservationists are likely to oppose filling the valley air with jet exhaust, noise pollution, and the need for more fire stations, police, schools, and electric generating capacity.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Perhaps someone should point out that three airline companies have gone out of business in the last week, including Aloha, which was in business for many years. As the concentration of business goes to fewer and fewer airlines and the price of fuel keeps going up one can expect that the number of travelers who fly for fun rather than business will go down. I anticipate that with the electronic communications available that business flying will decline as well. That is what my crystal ball is telling me.

    As for businesses moving here? Why? Aren’t air quality issues bad enough already? With the spread of so-called “planned communities” which are conveniently located miles from any work opportunities, we will have continually worsening air conditions and folks from other places will begin to notice, especially if they have family members who have lung diseases.

    I know the Statesman leans toward the inevitability of growth mantra, but lots of us don’t agree. It seems like our quality of life may be totally dependent on the various P&Z departments which on first blush (and second and third blushes, as well) seem to be in the pocket of developers and the real estate industry.

  2. sam the sham
    Apr 7, 2008, 12:29 pm

    Isnt’ growth for growth’s sake a part of this new modern life we have? Lots of lip service to being “green” (please define that sound bite for me) without the action behind it. Lots of lip service to “buy Idaho” when it really means “come here and purchase our land and homes for more than our wages will allow our citizens to pay”.
    Fraz, we have not pollution here, we want to be modern (even if it is behind the time) and are not looking to the future health of this valley.
    nuthin’ new in the City of Trees.

    hey, i really dug the statesman article on the huge “green” homes in the valley. “green” no longer means “environmentally concerned”… but does get you oh so much attention. “so cool of you, my dear.”
    ok im done

  3. Mike Murphy...
    Apr 7, 2008, 12:39 pm

    Motivated by a near-death experience, I used to come here from Brooklyn from ’89 to ’94 in the Summers to fight the Wildfires.

    “Don’t Californicate Idaho” bumper stickers were everywhere, and one of the local rags pondered the possibility (now, eventuality) of “Boise-Angeles”.

    I remember being amused by the good and brave people at Fire-Base Eagle during the Warm Lake fire of ’89 who would say upon meeting me: “Brooklyn, New York!?!? Wellll… At least your not from California”.

    Well guess what…

    Californication Complete.

    Welcome to Boise-Angeles!

  4. Although I believe we all realize the need for stable, better paying jobs in Boise, I am not convinced that freight hubs are the answer. What I am convinced of is that I wouldn’t trust the baboon and his band of 5 like minded chimps as far as I could pitch them. It is becoming more apparent that they see this local option opportunity as the “golden goose” for all their pet projects. Perhaps the legislature saw this when they killed it. It is truly a sad time when the population really can’t believe anything our baboon says, on anything!!

  5. The Daily Paper, which remains oft-discussed, but never hyperlinked( indicates that “airport likely will add surface parking in existing lots – a less than ideal solution” and “travelers prefer to park within walking distance.”

    If customers prefer X, but there’s a limited supply & no one can make more, then figure out a way to raise the price. You are starving for no reason.


    1) My observation is the long-term lot is poorly designed & hard to find find free spots in. This makes me favor the garage even though I needn’t.
    So, spend that cash to make it easier to find spots, reserving the existing garage.

    2) I don’t know how to get to the shuttle lot, nor what to expect, and I’m not about to find out and miss my plane. Spend some cash to educate/direct travelers w/o causing them additional stress or delay. If you are really innovative about how you do this, I bet this makes a bigger commerce magazine splash than a bigger garage would…

    To whom it may concern: I understand secret “business of a bigger garage” is probably so good that it’s not worth taking either of my suggestions, but I sure would like to see them implemented. I’m not part of 2/3 who’d let you take out a loan for a bigger garage unless you tell me why it’s really important, and have a different crystal ball than TJ has. And I’m one of those who thinks parking at the airport should be better and wants (the tech, not the truck) industry to thrive in Boise!

  6. I have my doubts about developers. Guys like Peterson (The Pit), and Boesphlug (Sp?) (Tamarack) are stereotype reinforcers of an image that needs very little reinforcing.

    Still, I have to allow that when in doubt, go to a pro. It is better to go to a doctor if you are ill, or an attorney if you need legal advice, or a developer if you want to put houses on the back 40. Developing is what developers are good at. Its a risky business. But, generally, they risk their own or their investor’s money because that is the way to reap the big profit.

    And then we have Boise City. The mayor and city council consist of an attorney, a couple of economists, two cops, a small business owner, and a planner. There is not a successful developer in the bunch. Why they think they have the skill to successfully develop the airport, or anything else, is beyond me.

    One thing is certain; they should not be trusted with public funds to do things that are clearly beyond their sphere or expertise.

  7. Have Team Dave asked the Chinese if they would just buy and develop the new air hub? I see alot of potential business here in the Treasure Valley with the Chinese. Most Idahoans gave up on their downtowns and support of local merchants for cheap Chinese stuff at Wal-Mart. Perhaps we could be a huge air and trucking distribution hub for Wal-Mart. Think of all the jobs.
    San Diego just sold a pier to the Chinese navy. We could one-up those Californicators and sell our airport and skies to the Chinese. Boise would get another “first”. To heck with air quality, Chinas got a booming economy and growth at all cost mindset. Do they care about air quality, heck no. Should we?

  8. Too bad the voters re-elected these same idiots. Now they feel they are untouchable and you’re going to get 4 more years of this “secret agenda crap”.

    They don’t seem to have the guts to just go to the voters – they think they can win with the politics at the state level.

    Boise voters better wake up to this or before you all know it the constitution will get changed and you all will be seeing long term debt decided by 51% – on 66.66%. Then it will be WAY TOO LATE.

    If your legislator was for the constitutional amendment or wants to hand local option taxing to the cities and counties you better not re-elect them this year or you will literally pay for it.

  9. BoiseCitizen
    Apr 7, 2008, 7:34 pm

    They HAVE to build a new tower because with the expansion of the terminal the present tower cannot see the entire taxi way system. Just so you know.

    EDITOR NOTE–Not to worry about a new tower. How can you explain away another runway and the masterplan for the airport which includes a massive freight hub expansion? Why not allow citizens to vote for a new parking garage which we need, instead of denying them a chance to approve the facility?

  10. Sorry folks but this whole scheme for a Regional Hub airport with multiple runways, terminals, overruns, parking lots and service/access roads is not a new idea. As little respect as the currently elected public servants in Idaho, or their predecessors, deserve the “Regional Hub” concept for Boise “International” has been an on going conspiracy between the big money boys and whoever is in office at the time for at least twenty years that I know about.

    Deals between the major and minor players (some of whom would probably surprise you)
    have already been struck, money spent, and favors exchanged to further this proposed abomination to the valley. You could compare it to all the new subdivisions that are surveyed, platted, and roads cut while the Temporary Use Permit (Note: NOT Zoning Change as that is usually too complex and expensive.) is still in litigation.

    The current airport expansion round may have different low level mouth pieces championing the cause and trying to sell us peons another expensive and empty bill of goods but this smelly, parasite laden camel stuck his nose under our tent flap years back. Only the minor players in the public eye have changed. The real beneficiaries of a huge airport expansion have slipped several of the smelly beasts in under previous administrations. As has been so oft repeated here, follow the money. The trail to the real opportunists has not changed.

  11. Rod in SE Boise
    Apr 8, 2008, 10:31 am

    Some commenters seem to be conflating the two constitutional ammendments. One would allow local option taxes (sales taxes – can you believe that?) and the other would allow local governments to borrow money without voter approval (sort of). Neither was approved in the recent legislative session, but not because the state legislators want the people to have a voice (or control), but because of disagreements over how far to go with disenfranchising the voters. We need to find ways to keep the legislature out of session. If they are back on their plows and combines they can’t screw thing up further.

    The airport expansion is just another scam by the same people who keep telling us that more people in the valley, more traffic, and more air and water pollution are good things and will improve our quality of life. They think we are stupid, and since we haven’t offered much of a choice in recent mayoral and city council elections, maybe we are. Last mayoral election we were offered a choice between a pro-growth guy and a pro-growth guy who wanted to give the cops more weapons to use against us. It’s a little discouraging.

  12. We are falling into a trap with frieght hubs. It is always in the interest of freight companies to make communties think they have a chance of being the next large frieght hub. Every community they convince adds to the supply of freight destinations, and when supply increases in constant demand, prices decrease. This allows freight companies to negotiate better deals at their existing freight hubs, leaving smaller communities with unsused, expensive and depreciaiting infrastructure. Let’s have contracts in place before any development to ensure the facilities will be used, and we are not just being a token in a bargaining game.

    Why do we think Boise is an attarctive alternative for air freight versus these overused California hubs? Does it make business sense to take frieght in plane destined for LA, land in Boise and put it on trucks? At best Boise could be a feeder for Portland and Seattle, but with Diesel over $4 a gallon, no way will remote Boise be a freight hub.

  13. ” Let Team Dave eat his cake, after the citizens cut it.” When elected officials fear their constituents(vote), then they lack trust and should lose our respect.

  14. When the parking garage was being built, I used the shuttle lot and rally got to like it. It was cheap and the service was fast. After the garage was finished, the city drove the business back to the garage by raising the rate and lowering the service on the shuttle lot. Understandable, they needed to fill the garage. Now that the garage is full, wouldn’t it make sense to drop the shuttle prices back down? Pick a price point that would balance the resources of the garage and the lot.

    It would be unfortunate if the shuttle lot was deliberately underused to help make the case for a second garage.

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