State leaders discuss transportation growing pains

Posted at 6:14 PM, Oct 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 20:14:16-04

BOISE, ID — According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Idaho's population increased by about 2.1 percent in 2018. The Idaho Walk Bike Alliance is brought together stakeholders to talk about the growing transportation issues at a Conference on Tuesday.

"I had a fellow employee that got hit in a crosswalk because he crossed and then went back forgot that he hadn't gotten something, turned around, went back and stepped out and got hit just like that and you know, he did something that the driver wasn't expecting," said Dave Butzier, American Council of Engineering Companies.

Butzier says safety improvements need to be made for driving, riding, biking and walking in Idaho.

"The truckers, if you can't see the mirrors, they can't see you so there are blind spots in vehicles too so you've got to be cognisant and make eye contact as much as you can," said Butzier.

This issue doesn't just affect cities in the state, but rural areas as well. David sims, Mayor of Bonners Ferry says members in his community want bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

"To get people off of the streets, off of the highways. ITD is just finishing a project in our community that puts sidewalks on both sides of the highway. Previous to that, people would walk right in the lane of traffic sometimes and just off the edge of the traffic," said Sims.

Sims says he hopes policymakers have discussions about how to support transportation in our growing state.

"How do we raise enough resources whether that be through the gas tax, the surplus eliminator, through a transportation trust fund. How do we raise enough resources to make sure the needs of every Idaho citizen are met and those needs are different in each community and I think that's what this conversation about," said Mat Erpelding, Idaho's House Democratic Leader.

The conference brought in truckers, construction contractors, transit leaders, grant managers, city staff, and more.