Engineering Consultant Runs For ACHD Seat

Bob Bruce of Eagle has announced a run at the Ada County Highway District seat being vacated by John Franden and sought by Paul Woods. The district covers Boise’s north end and Northwest Ada County.

Looks like he has plenty of creds. Bruce is a former Eagle Sewer District Board Member, Boise Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee Chairman, Meridian Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee Founder and Chairman and Nampa Chamber of Commerce Board Member and Transportation Committee Founder and Chairman.

An engineering consultant, Bruce is a project principal for Stanley Consultants, Inc. and previously a vice president at CH2M HILL and HDR Engineering, Inc. and a project development manager at Morrison Knudsen. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boise State, where he also played football.

Citizens are 80% disenfranchised when it comes to voting for ACHD. You can vote for only one of the five candidates, thanks to a little political slight of hand when the board was expanded from three to five members.

More from the Bruce press release follows.

“I have lived in Ada County for almost 62 years including 42 years in Boise and 20 years in Eagle. I understand the transportation issues that the county faces as well as the diverse needs and desires of the citizens of ACHD District 3. I have worked in the engineering and construction industry for nearly 35 years. Much of that work has been in transportation. I have been involved with many successful transportation projects in the valley including the I-84 Vista Avenue Interchange, I-84 Eisenman Road Interchange, I-84 Locust Grove Road Overpass, East ParkCenter Bridge and numerous other successful projects that have greatly benefited the traveling public in Ada County.

“One of the most difficult issues facing Ada County Highway District is managing the existing system requirements while addressing future challenges. Budget issues are critical. Likely reductions in the amount of available funding from the Federal government may require belt tightening in order to keep taxes low. I am a strong advocate of local option funding which ACHD has benefited from over the years. That tool allows voters to decide if they want to raise fees to provide for capital improvements. I believe strongly in multimodal transportation. One need look no further than the Salt Lake area to see how a coordinated transportation system can reduce gridlock and encourage economic development.

“I am concerned about the interface between land use decisions by cities and the county and transportation decisions by ACHD. More collaboration needs to occur so that transportation planning and projects complement land use decisions. I am particularly concerned about the disharmony that exists between the City of Boise and ACHD. I will work very hard to close the gap between these two governmental entities. As President Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘A house divided against itself will not stand.’ The relations between the ACHD Commission and the Boise City Council must improve for all of the residents of Ada County.

“The recent standoff between the City and ACHD over the Downtown Bike Lane Pilot Project is but one of many examples where much better collaboration is needed. For the record, I agreed with ACHD President Franden’s position on that subject. He favored leaving the bike lanes in for a longer period of time to allow drivers and cyclists more time to acclimate themselves to the change. This followed the desires of the Boise City Council. I would not be running for this position if I did not think that it is possible for ACHD and the City of Boise to achieve greater harmony. I hope that the voters of ACHD District 3 will agree that I am the most qualified candidate to represent them for the next four years.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. And a road engineer at that. The other boy looks like a professional marketing pro but not much else.

  2. I don’t think Bob is actually an engineer.

  3. Not on topic, but when is The Guardian going to update it’s Boise skyline photo?

    EDITOR NOTE–We have been ruminating over that for awhile. Ironically, between the growth of trees and the new buildings it is pretty hard to update from the same perspective. It has to be a wide shot, but not too deep to fit the format. We may just go out to Eagle Road and Fairview and get some shopping centers and cars.

  4. Give it up Mr. Bruce. In fact, I urge you to come on here and debate me.

    What harmony are you talking about? Either there will be bike lanes on Idaho and Main or there won’t. There is little room for compromise. Sometimes things ARE black and white. Speaking of black and white, the majority have spoken and they disapproved of the bike lanes, including many cyclists. Why don’t we put it on a general ballot instead of trying to stack the ACHD deck and do an end run around the majority? The majority which includes some cyclists, don’t forget.

    This is no different that the proposed medians on Fairview but no one is harping on that issue. What’s up with that?

    No, this has become ideological head butting. Seriously, the bike lane antagonists are like ornery goats trying to butt heads with everything in sight.

    I’m still waiting on word of bringing Robert Bruegmann here in the interest of fair debate. Speck is not the messiah of urban planning and frankly his ideas were shot down hard by Bruegmann. Can any of you explain how new urbanist Bown Crossing and Harris Ranch are so unlike any other generic suburb?

    Meanwhile the suburbs and consequently automobile dependence continues to expand. WHY? Because that’s what the majority wants and as long as they can afford it, that is what they will buy. Are you seriously trying to legislate where people choose to live?

    I bet none of the bike lane antagonists own an old school CRT TV. I bet they own a HDTV. Why? Because HDTVs are better and they can afford them. For many people, a house in Hidden Springs or Harris Ranch or Hobble Creek is BETTER (for them) and they can afford it.

    And even if everyone was forced to live downtown, where are they going to live? There is little for sale at any price. And if you think you’re going to rezone the north end or east end as high density you’ve got another thing coming to you. Reality.

  5. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 27, 2014, 1:54 pm

    boisecynic’s rant covers a lot more territory than Mr. Bruce’s statement did, and I will only comment on one facet of that.

    It does seem like the City of Boise is intent on encouraging higher density developments instead of lower density development. I haven’t seen any polling data on this but I would be VERY surprised if higher density found much, if any, support at all. I am unaware of ACHD having taken a position specifically on population density.

    In recent years there was a burst of high density condo development downtown. Aren’t about half of them still unsold? People who want to live in a 500 square foot condo, downtown, can’t afford one.

  6. Cynic, I’m not sure what you mean by bike lane antagonist, but I ride my bike to work (downtown) every day and I liked the bike lanes and hope that, if not better bike lanes on a few streets downtown, we can figure something out to make my comute safer (as I have been hit by twice and have had numerous close-calls).

    Regardless, if you read what Mr. Bruce actually said, it was that we should have had a longer trial period for the lanes. I think this would have served two purposes: 1) it would have given the people of Boise (who are often slow to come around on new things) a fair oppertunity to evaluate the new bike lanes during the height of bike commutting season; and 2) it would have saved Ada County taxpayers some money because they would have been able to take them down (or leave them up) during the already planned resurfacting at the end of summer instead of paying overtime to workers to take them down over a weekend.

    Also, for the record, I still use a CRT TV.

  7. “I am unaware of ACHD having taken a position specifically on population density.”

    Of course not, it’s not their job. But it should be apparent to anyone that some Commissioners/candidates have taken a position with respect to urban planning. That position is to make auto travel more difficult as a means to an end to force bicycle travel. Bruegmann talks about it with respect to Jeff Speck. It’s an ideological position not unlike religion and their aim is to seize control of the regulatory machinery to further their agenda. I’d have more respect for them if they’d just come out and admit it.

    It’s good that ACHD is separate from the cities it serves. It makes them more honest and less subject to the whims of city administrations that come and go over the years. It makes for a more integrated metropolis and gives them economies of scale.

    Boisebiker: I bicycle downtown too. I just don’t see how you can say Idaho and Main were safer. To me, they were less safe for everyone, cars, bikes and pedestrians. We have Bannock, Grove, 8th and 10th. Those are good enough for me though they could be improved. Idaho and Main caused more problems than they solved, by a long shot.

    Regarding the trial period, I think it was long enough. There shouldn’t have even been a trial period. It wasn’t rocket science to figure out bike lanes buffered by parking on Idaho and Main by removing a lane was a bad idea. And after I rode them and drove them just once it only reinforced for me that which I already knew.

  8. Good lord. Bob Bruce and Paul Woods are both worthy candidates. ACHD needs to focus on roads and not land use planning. It is a special purpose district. No different than an irrigation district.

  9. TF Boy. You may have noticed that both poorly planned roads and poorly planned irrigation projects have caused lots of land use issues later on. They need to be planned together. But I’m happy all the planning is not under one agency.

    One thing is for certain in this town… if the road has fresh pavement, they’ll rip it up within a few months to put in the utilities… so it’s time they do better with coordination.

    Editor: Is he and engineer and just throwing the term around?
    NOTE–We don’t know, but this leads one to conclude engineer: “An engineering consultant, Bruce is a project principal for Stanley Consultants, Inc. and previously a vice president at CH2M HILL and HDR Engineering, Inc. and a project development manager at Morrison Knudsen.”

  10. costaprettypenny
    Jun 28, 2014, 7:50 pm

    He is a salesman of engineering services.

  11. TF Boy, the ACHD special purpose district wants to do more than just ‘roads’, like handing out bicycle lights with “ACHD” printed on them.

    Zippo, you may be happy all the planning is not under one agency- until you have to get something approved by several conflicting agencies.

  12. Easterner, then let’s disband the 6 Ada County cities and ACHD and run everything through a strong Ada County government. Of course it would mean expanding the commission and even changing its format to a strong County Executive with veto power over the commission.

    Even so, Boise City has numerous agencies with occasional conflicting criteria. I’ve seen P&Z call for Class II street trees under power lines.

  13. When you think about it… other than the fact that the County government has been a zoo—consolidation is not a bad idea. At least for most services. Fire and police could be first. ACS already does the County, Eagle, and Kuna. City fire has expanded to areas outside the city. That would leave parks (maybe that would be the third thing), water, wastewater, and P&X to the cities. The county already has solid waste and courts. No objection to changing the structure of County government. Part-time commissioners.. maybe five of them?

  14. Cynic, that consolidation has some merit. Economy of scale vs bureaucracy. Not sure the Commission would have to expand. Big committees are usually inefficient and too vague.

    Boise has engulfed Garden City, and merged with Meridian, nearly Eagle..

    44 counties. 44 school districts-44 fire departments- right on down the line. An efficient model repeated in each county based on a standard local level of taxation.

    What does a city do that a county can’t do?

  15. consolidating function and services is much more likely than dividing.

    Ada County Jail
    Ada County Landfill

    Lots of other cities/counties are doing it. It’s “trending”.

  16. Foothills Rider
    Jul 8, 2014, 3:29 pm

    The Statesman sidebar states Bob is a Registered Professonal Engineer. If so, for what state? He is NOT licensed through the Idaho Board of Licensure of Professional Engineers…I am hoping this is not another politician with spin. Nowhere does he state that he is an engineer…just that he has worked in the field for years (the sidebar is from the Statesman). His Masters is in Public Administration, not Engineering. He might be a fine candidate, but I wish all politicians would be more transparent on skills/qualifications.

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