Local infrastructure experts detail Idaho infrastructure needs

Idaho Highways
Posted at 4:16 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 18:18:59-04

IDAHO — The Idaho Transportation Department say projects are ready to go the moment the president signs the bipartisan infrastructure bill, if it passes the House of Representatives.

“With Idaho, we have seven years of projects in the pipeline with the funding we have currently. We have other projects that are ready to go when extra funding becomes available to meet the demands of growth and other demands that Idaho is facing,” said Aubrie Spence, the senior public information officer for ITD.

The American Society of Civil Engineers studies infrastructure across the country and releases report cards grading roads, bridges and other aspects of infrastructure. The last report card for Idaho is from 2018, which said Idaho's infrastructure is pretty average, giving Idaho bridges a grade of D and Idaho roads a C-.

It also analyzes whether current funding will allow infrastructure to keep up with population growth.

The chair of the civil engineering department at Boise State University, Dr. Nick Hudyma, said the money Idaho would get if the bill is passed is needed.

“The state will experience a 3.6 billion dollar shortfall for repairing roads if our current funding remains the same,” he said, citing information from the American Society of Civil Engineers report card.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill is currently being considered in the House and, if passed, would mean an estimated $2 billion for highways and more than $200 million for bridges, according to a state fact sheet released by the White House.

The bill would also provide Idaho with funding for improved public transportation, electric vehicle charging stations and increased broadband access. Other things Idaho would receive funding for are resources to reduce wildfires and prevent cyber attacks.

Spence said the funding Idaho would receive is important for people beyond Idaho too.

“Idaho is a bridge state, we connect people coast to coast so those demands on our infrastructure affect more than just Idaho residents,” she said.

The bill is currently being considered in the House after passing the Senate earlier this month. In a procedural vote on Tuesday the House decided it would vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill by September 27.