A whopping 55 percent. That’s the percentage of Idaho’s transportation funding comes from the federal government. It’s also how much the gem state could loose if Congress doesn’t extend the current transportation funding bill, or pass a new one by August 1st.
The date is already putting projects on hold. Currently Idaho has 18 road construction projects ready to go, but can’t because funds aren’t available past the August 1st deadline.
Four possibly delayed projects in eastern Idaho include:
– Improving West Main Street in St. Anthony.
– Installing guard rails along Snake River Road in Madison County
– Putting up signage along South Bates Road in Teton County, ID.
– Upgrading the intersection of Benton Street and Second Avenue in Pocatello.
Even current construction projects might be at risk for disruption if a bill isn’t passed and the federal transportation department isn’t funded.
“Reimbursement services aren’t available if the federal highway employees aren’t available,” said Jeff Miles, a director of the Idaho Local Highway Technical Assistance Council. “So it begins to call in question our on-going projects that may have funding but aren’t able to get a reimbursement.”
Despite the threat, the Idaho Transportation Department hopes things will continue to move forward and that Congress will deliver.
“As Congress has always done in the past, they’ve extended funding even if it’s in the last minute,” said Bruce King of the Idaho Transportation Department. “Even if it’s a short term measure, they’ve extended funding to keep the Idaho Transportation Department and other state transit departments operational.”