Should Interstate 84 be widened in Nampa? The Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (also known as COMPASS) wants to know what you think.
In March of this year, the Idaho Legislature approved $300 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonding, essentially bonding to borrow against future federal transportation funding. In April, the Idaho Transportation Board voted to use $150 million of the bonding authority to widen Interstate 84 from the Karcher Road (Midland Boulevard) interchange in Nampa to the Franklin Boulevard interchange in Nampa.
However, for that project to move forward, the COMPASS Board of Directors says it must first change the regional long-range transportation plan – known as Communities in Motion 2040 -- and the regional budget for federal transportation funding, called the Regional Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP.
“In Communities in Motion 2040, widening I-84 from western Caldwell to Franklin Boulevard is listed as the region's number one unfunded priority. For federal funding to be spent on the project, the plan must be updated to show funding has been identified to pay for it,” said COMPASS spokeswoman Amy Luft.
The proposed improvements would widen I-84 in Nampa from the Karcher Road (Midland Boulevard) interchange to the Franklin Boulevard interchange from two lanes in each direction to three. Construction would likely begin in summer of 2018 and be complete in approximately 2022, Luft stated.
This widening project, though, does not affect the rehabilitation of the roadway surface from Franklin Road in Caldwell to Franklin Boulevard in Nampa, which is scheduled to happen this summer. The rehabilitation is needed to continue to support traffic until the reconstruction is completed.
The need identified in Communities in Motion 2040 extends to western Caldwell; the proposed funding only addresses the eastern portion, officials said.
The amendment would move the Karcher Road-to-Franklin Boulevard segment of I-84 to the list of "funded" projects, while leaving the remainder of needed widening on I-84 (western Caldwell to Karcher Road) at the top of the "unfunded" priority list.
In addition to amending Communities in Motion 2040, the TIP would also need to be changed to add this project to the federally-funded transportation budget.
"We are thrilled that the Idaho Legislature and Idaho Transportation Board have found a way to address our most pressing transportation need," said COMPASS Executive Director Matt Stoll. "However, we have not forgotten about the stretch of I-84 from western Caldwell to Karcher Road that remains unfunded. We will continue to work toward completion of the entire Caldwell to Nampa section of I-84."
While the project has already been identified as the top unfunded need in Communities in Motion 2040, it cannot move forward without public input. "We did receive feedback on our unfunded needs as Communities in Motion was developed," Stoll explained. "But now is the time when the rubber truly hits the road. We want to hear from our residents if they support this $150 million project."
COMPASS will be accepting public comments through Sunday, May 14, 2017. You can learn more and/or submit your comments at www.compassidaho.org or at the COMPASS office at 700 NE 2nd Street, Suite 200, Meridian, ID 83642. You can direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org of 208/855-2558.