Starting a conversation about public transportation in the Treasure Valley

Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 19:07:16-04

Most major cities in the United States has some kind of train or light rail that helps citizens commute without having to drive.

This June a representative from Salt Lake City visited the Treasure Valley to show local leaders how Utah was able to fund and build a light rail.

In Mayor Bieter's State of the City address the Mayor pointed out that 80 percent of the drivers who commute from Nampa to Boise and back do in a car by themselves.

So what about the future of public transportation in the Treasure Valley?

"Well some folks would say we don't really need a light rail, or commuter rail or a bus transit and I would argue you might be right," said Matt Stoll who works at Compass.

However, Compass deals with long-term planning and believes that somewhere down the road that will change so it's important to get the dialogue started now.

"Salt Lak started planning, they started investing, they started preparing when they were about our size," said Stoll.

Stoll also pointed out that Idaho and Mississippi are the only two states in the nation that doesn't have any funding being raised for the purpose of public transportation.

"We have been working on it, but at this point, we don't have any funding dedicated to public transportation we will continue to try and work with the legislature on that," said Stoll.

He also pointed out why there are not any high occupancy lanes designated on Interstate 84 between Nampa and Boise.

"I'll tell you why we are not allowed to by state law," said Stoll. "In Idaho HOV lanes are only allowed in counties with a population under 25,000 people and also with a resort community."

So while there may not be anything in the near future that will connect Boise and Nampa, Compass wants to make sure that Ada and Canyon counties are prepared to do so when the time comes.

"I'm hoping we can lay the groundwork to getting a viable public transportation system put into place to meet the needs of the community by 2040," said Stoll.