As of Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Idaho is the fastest growing state in the nation. To many, this is already old news, simply an announcement made by the U.S. Census Bureau in late 2017 that has come and gone in the headlines. But what this means for Idaho, and our infrastructure, doesn’t fade away like news headlines. The fact remains, and long-term impacts are imminent. So, what does this mean for our transportation infrastructure and what role does the Idaho Transportation Department play in navigating through the growth?
Coincidently, the Idaho Transportation Department is currently in the process of updating the long-range transportation plan for the state highway system. The plan is called IDAGO 2040. Over the past year, the department has been engaging Idaho’s citizens, metropolitan planning organizations, transportation officials, local agencies, elected officials, advocacy groups and tribal governments across the state to help shape the vision of what Idaho will look like in the year 2040 and what challenges we may encounter as we move forward.
Traditionally, long-range planning has incorporated gathering stakeholder (public and professional) feedback, identifying challenges and proposing possible solutions into an all-encompassing statewide plan. However, past experience in transportation planning has shown that challenges change, needs change, and solutions change.
The transportation department is looking to innovate in our long-range planning approach. Instead of producing a long-range transportation plan identifying the obvious and proposing solutions that may never be funded, the department will improve decision-making processes, train employees to understand the long-term impacts of transportation decisions, encourage employees to further develop their knowledge base, partner with other agencies, reach out to the public more often and compliment local planning efforts. This will allow the department to be confident that transportation solutions today will also be effective in the future.
The department is seeking public input through an online interactive survey. Prioritizing strategies, allocation of new revenue and decision-making trade-offs are the three areas of focus for our interactive survey. The transportation department asks for your participation in this process. To participate in the survey, please visit: https://idago2040.metroquest.com (or use the QR code with this column). Your participation is important to the department, not only to affirm our agency is a good steward of public funds, but also that we are on the same page in our future direction.
The survey can be completed in less than five minutes, but one can also take as long as needed to provide comments and feedback outside of the interactive features. The survey closes on June 6, so please do not wait to take it.
By Ken Kanownik
AICP, planning services mgr.
Idaho Transportation Dept.