The Idaho Transportation Department is soliciting public comment on the draft of its fiscal year 2019-25 Idaho Transportation Investment Program or “ITIP,” which is a seven-year “roadmap” for planning and developing transportation projects such as: highways and bridges; bicycle and pedestrian facilities; airports; plus public and freight transportation needs, among others.
However, Adam Rush, the ITD’s public involvement coordinator, told the AASHTO Journal by phone that getting public comment and “stakeholder input” on the agency’s long-range plan is a “year-round process” that aims to cement an “understanding” among everyone involved as to the direction of Idaho’s transportation infrastructure strategy.
“This is part of an ongoing discussion we have at the local, county, district, and city levels within our state so we are all on the same page,” he said. “For example, we have active outdoor recreationists who want more bike paths. Then we have cities such as Meridian that are undergoing tremendous growth and so seek more roadway capacity, such as the widening of the U.S. 20 and 26 highways.”
Meridian, located roughly 15 miles east of Boise, is considered Idaho’s fastest-growing city and among the fastest-growing U.S. cities in the nation, with a 2015 census estimate placing the population at approximately 90,739.
With a 2018 non-census population estimate of 106,410 and a 1,000 percent increase in population since 1990, Meridian is currently estimated as the second largest in the state, according to Idaho census data.
Rush added that public comments also help the ITD determine if proposed projects meet the department’s three main objectives of improving safety, mobility, and economic opportunity.
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