Valley Has $150,000,000 Annual Shortfall

We heard an ad on the radio recently from the Community Planning Association, COMPASS, which claimed Treasure Valley comes up short $150 million each year when it comes to transportation funding.
Heavy traffic on Interstate 84 near Boise, Idaho.
The private agency which is funded by assorted taxpayer funded local governments explains details HERE. They say the big issue is growth and predict 440,000 new residents by 2040.

The COMPASS website states, “COMPASS estimates that the region will need an investment of approximately $359 million per year between now and 2040 to meet maintenance needs and the demands of growth.”

Well, the always logical growthophobes at the GUARDIAN have an answer: Quit creating and encouraging GROWTH! When you give tax breaks to outside businesses to “attract them to relocate in the valley,” that means more people and apparently $150 million in un-met transportation needs each year. It also hurts local businesses already here.

When we read of a really bad “vision” called Idaho 2020, headed up by wealthy developers who benefit from public money diverted to urban redevelopment agencies, we were disheartened to say the least. Joke of the day: they say they are not lobbyists! They claim their goal is to offer legislators information on which to base economic decisions.

Wanna bet how many of those ideas will include doing away with business tax breaks, enabling unions rather than “right to work,” and not allowing tax money to be diverted to urban renewal agencies for public works projects intended to be approved by voters at a bond election?

Comments & Discussion

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  1. We all know you can “buy” a study to say anything you need it to say.

    You mentioned the 2020 group..look out because they want to expand urban renewal (makes it easier for them to make money) and will be lobbying hard for local option tax aka increased sales tax.

    Another example of getting a study to say what you want is when ACHD had the bike riders group do the bike counts on Emerald to justify closing 50% of the roadway from Americana to Orchard.

    Just another normal day in the City of Boise and the Country of Ada. Please let you legislators know they need to KILL all local option TAX and KILL urban renewal districts.

  2. I agree! Our “leaders” consistently claim we have the best “livable” city. But if they truly feel that way then why are they allowing BSU to tear down entire neighborhoods. Or better yet St.Lukes to do the same or giving every piece of bare downtown land to develop to the developer from Utah.

  3. It doesn’t really work that way. Regions grow, or they die. They can’t just stay stagnant.

    EDITOR NOTE–Cancer also grows without restraint unless stopped.

  4. Kent Goldthorpe
    Jan 12, 2016, 8:33 am

    Not to be too sarcastic (knowing that sarcasm is a virtually unknown quantity at the Boise Guardian) but I’m thinking that makes about as much sense as keeping your kids out of elementary school to avoid the cost of College.

    You will be encouraged to know that at least part of your desire for zero growth will be realized. Even though the population is on pace to double in the timeframe contained in the article our transportation infrastructure will likely grow only somewhere in the area of 30%. I’m not trying to make any kind of case for a drastic tax increase. Hardly as the current ACHD Commission will not authorize that. What I am saying is that with current revenue formulas and sources we will see a consistent decline in funds available for new construction and capital projects. The cost of maintenance for our current infrastructure grows every year creating a curve that points downward. No, developer impact fees for new development do not even try to keep pace with new growth. Instead they provide a temporary fix by providing new residential roads and, at the same time creating new maintenance costs in the future, not covered by the growth of property taxes brought about by New development, at least under current tax rates.

    There are some ways to mitigate the astronomic costs of maintaining the main east/west corridors in the valley but I’m not sure that many here care about common sense solutions in favor of pointing fingers at others.

    I would, however certainly entertain doing a joint editorial to discuss them.

    EDITOR NOTE–As always, you are welcome to “editorial space.” Your agency (ACHD) is in the unenviable position to react to the decisions other politicos, much like the schools where bonds and overrides are commonplace.

  5. chicago sam
    Jan 12, 2016, 8:34 am

    A major problem is developers and subdivisions do not pay the full costs of their infrastructure. Yes, they pay fees and scream to high heaven that they are too much, but they pay only minimal amounts for intersections, traffic lights, and nothing is allotted for the schools which will be needed. Parks and trails usually get the short end of the stick too.

  6. Janet Harman
    Jan 12, 2016, 9:29 am

    Kent Goldthorpe: Please don’t paint us all with the same brush.

  7. Rob, the bike counts are done by Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance by volunteers. This information is provided to many agencies/organizations including ACHD to help guide decisions for all road users.

    Mr. Goldthorpe brought up that current funding sources are not keeping pace and only mentioned impact fees and property taxes. Why not talk about how much property owners subsidize the roads. The gas tax and registrations are a very small portion of funding formula. Maintenance cost can directly be attributed to the amount of use. Maybe it is time for a mileage tax.

  8. So COMPASS is really saying, “COMPASS is doing a bad job”.

    Typical bureaucratic waste.

    COMPASS – 35 board members. Much like the Valley Regional Transit – 28 board members.

    When was the last time you heard of a group of that many politicians effectively managing anything?

  9. Rod in SE Boise
    Jan 12, 2016, 12:58 pm

    We should all fully support maintaining our infrastructure. Not sure making I-84 between Boise and Caldwell 10 lanes each way could ever be necessary or desirable.

  10. “but I’m not sure that many here care about common sense solutions in favor of pointing fingers at others.” -Goldthorpe

    Says VOLUMES about the personalities on ACHD.

  11. And Easterner don’t forget about the 16 member Regional Coordination Council that advises the 28 member VRT Board.

  12. Growth does not just somehow happen because we wish for it. Growth is tied to growth in energy supplies, and migration.
    America’s energy supplies peaked in 1970, and have trended down ever since, barring the blip caused by the failed shale-oil scheme. So, America is now dependent on the growth in global energy supplies, via resource theft. Look at the projected growth in world energy supplies and you will realize that growth is over, and contraction is about to begin. Have you seen the Baltic Dry Index recently!! The worlds container ships are currently all at port, nothing is moving across the oceans!
    There is the problem of immigration from less desirable areas like California and the Midwest, but closing the borders would cure that problem. Desperate times call for desperate measures!

  13. Bill Goodnight
    Jan 13, 2016, 11:46 am

    Economists and urban planners in training must never take biological courses. Whether in a petri dish or animal community, the ultimate result of unrestrained growth is always disaster.

    World leaders focus on global warming and not the cause. There are twice as many mouths in the world breathing out CO2 as when I was in high school. I remember when the U.S. topped 150 million. Today it is 322 million.

    The population of Boise has tripled since I moved here in 1970. Ain’t it great? Jim’s Coffee Shop just closed, but they opened another Del Taco on Overland.

    I can throw a rock anywhere in the valley and hit a St. Luke’s facility. I hear they are out to take over our local Veterinary clinic. The Vets are considering it to avoid property taxes.

    The boomers have it wrong! Anyway you cut it, GROWTH SUCKS!

  14. NoRiskFunding
    Jan 13, 2016, 12:08 pm

    People, if you agree to a 15% beer tax we’ll get you an NFL team! Mayor the tax never goes away, so after the new domed stadium developers are paid you have an outrageous tax windfall… and empty stadium.

    It’s about shifting what is traditionally a developer’s risk onto the taxpayer. They want the middleman’s inevitable profit, but want the local governments to take the risk for THEIR development ideas. This way they make money even if the projects are a flop. It’s an expanded version of the old ‘talk the mayor into a new publicly funded stadium so we can profit from the land sale and construction cost’.

    Might I point out an increased population automatically results in increased tax and fee revenue… unless they are not taxing the developers enough… or at all?

    Mr. Goldthrope, it’s a great time of year to clean up the trash along nearly all of your roadways. It’s visible and accessible now since the weeds and water are low. Workers won’t suffer heat stress either. Might straighten up and replace signage. Overlooked broken sidewalks, curb & gutter, potholes, and protruding manholes are made visible by frost heaves and can be marked for replacement too.

  15. Kent Goldthorpe
    Jan 13, 2016, 3:06 pm

    Thanks very much for your suggestion. You’ll be happy to know that all those items are on our Winter maintenance schedule. Just this morning we on the Commission were briefed on the impact of our new sweeper teams and schedules that will positively impact your suggestions.

    Please feel free to contact us directly, preferably through the email system on our website with any specific items or areas of concern that you would like ACHD to address. Citizen reports are invaluable to us in our efforts to provide great customer service.

  16. Road Safety
    Jan 14, 2016, 9:51 pm

    Considering the number of injuries, deaths, and vehicle damage resulting from ACHD’s failure to make the winter roads safe before the morning commute, I’m thinking all of us will get an insurance premium increase. Thank god these guys are so diligent about chip-seal… maybe they can pray about how to clear ice before 7 am.

  17. Yossarian_22
    Jan 15, 2016, 3:15 pm

    STOP THE GROWTH! They keep promoting this place and expecting some kind of migration of free money swamping in to fill the voids via taxing dreams. I heard through the Team 17 crew that the GOP side of the aisle is trying to put together an attraction plan for retirement couples from California with what they hope will be surplus cash from housing sales, and settle them between Boise/Eagle and Emmett. They want to pour a bunch of $$ into road infrastructure on that corridor for the luring phase. Remember the “M3” wetdream about 10 years ago….yeah, something like that. What ever happened to quality of life and maintaining what you already have?

  18. Y -22

    Team 17 is not a reliable source.

    Nor do they represent all of voters of District 17.

  19. In response to Commissioner Goldthorpe’s comment about winter maintenance, the briefing the Commission received re (street) ‘sweeper teams’, probably didn’t include mention of the lack of sweeping of bike lanes on Five Mile Road. Possibly other roads/streets with bike lanes have been similarly ignored?

    Yes, people ride bikes in the winter.

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