Idaho DOT’s Ness Says Hike in Revenue Leading to Safety, Mobility Improvements

AASHTO Journal, 26 June 2015

In the latest installment of a video series called “Two-Minute Update,” which focuses on state departments of transportation, Idaho DOT Director Brian Ness tells Transportation TV how his department is utilizing new revenue approved this year by the state Legislature.

Lawmakers approved a package of revenue enhancements for transportation that included raising motor fuel user fees. The changes are expected to generate $95 million annually.

“I think you’ll see significant benefits from that,” Ness said. “We’ll begin to look at our five-year plan and see what projects we can move forward as a result of the new funding.

He explained that the revenue package not only hikes fuel and vehicle registration fees but that lawmakers also approved “a two-year provision that would allow surplus money in our general fund to be used, to be spent on transportation projects.”

Ness said: “With this surplus-eliminator money, we’ll look to target projects that save lives, increase the mobility for the users of the system and enhance economic opportunities in the state of Idaho.”

Idaho’s total annual backlog of roadway projects is $262 million, but Ness said, “I’m very pleased with how we came out in our session this year; it’s a great start.”

One of the aspects that he likes is that when lawmakers set a two-year “sunset” limit on using general fund surpluses for transportation projects, they also said they intend to address infrastructure funding needs again in two years.

This Update and hundreds of other TTV news and feature videos are available any time on the TTV website.

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