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Idaho To Spend Nearly $50M To Overhaul Transportation System

Idaho Transportation Department (ITD)

The U.S. government has big plans to give the country’s transportation and transit systems a significant makeover. More than $260 billion has been earmarked to repair and upgrade roads, highways, bridges, passenger trains, and urban transit through 2021’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. 

Much of this money will now go toward federal projects, but a big chunk will also be divvied up among states and local communities. Some states are already using federal funds to rebuild their infrastructure — including Idaho, which announced several initiatives to update, improve, and modernize transportation across the state.

In 2021, both Senator Crapo and Senator Risch voted in favor of the bill because of the wide-ranging benefits it’d bring to the state. “The bipartisan legislation we passed today makes investments in traditional, hard infrastructure projects to help keep pace with Idaho’s rapid growth,” stated Senator Crapo at the time.

In August, the Idaho government announced that it received nearly $31 million in federal grant money to fund transportation improvements.

The grants were provided through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program designed “to help urban and rural communities move forward on projects that modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation.” 

Photo Courtesy U.S. Department of Transportation

Idaho’s funding is part of the more than $2.2 billion awarded nationwide by USDOT, according to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD). Projects include:

  • $12.4 million to ITD for Wood River Valley Mobility Corridor Improvements. Funds will be used to upgrade transit-oriented infrastructure at four intersections with Idaho State Highway 75 in the Wood River Valley Mobility Corridor. 
  • $8.5 million to Valley Regional Transit for the State Street Premium Corridor. This money will build transit, pedestrian, and bicycle facilities along a 6.5-mile section beginning in downtown Boise. 
  • $5 million to the Ada County Highway District for the Access to Opportunity Planning Project. Funds will go toward planning and designing 12 multimodal transportation projects totaling more than 10.5 miles. 
  • $5 million to the City of Nampa for Reconnecting Accessibility and Improving Safety and Equity. This project involves designing local and regional connections in the North Nampa Neighborhood. 

“This grant award looks to bring a fresh perspective to transportation coordination in the state of Idaho,” said Ron Duran, ITD public transportation manager. 

Photo Courtesy U.S. Department of Transportation

Meanwhile, a separate grant of about $17.8 million will go toward two other transportation improvement projects in Idaho. This funding also came through the federal government’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Most of the money, nearly $17.4 million, will go to Valley Regional Transit in Boise, which will use it to buy a fleet of electric vehicles and chargers to replace old buses. The project also aims to improve workforce development and public transportation in Boise.

Photo Courtesy James Khashchuk

The bus funding will include transit worker training, with 5% going toward teaching employees how to use and maintain zero- and low-emission vehicles. ITD will get the remaining $384,000 to buy vans for Mountain Rides in Blaine County to improve commuter and non-emergency medical transportation in the area. 

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