BOISE, Idaho (CBS2) — A portion of Governor Little's "Leading Idaho" initiative is dedicated to transportation.
The Idaho Transportation Department's board recently voted to accelerate several major statewide projects. Construction for four projects will begin this summer.
“As part of Governor littles leading Idaho initiative ITD has identified 13 Corridors across the state that are in need of expansion projects because of all of the growth that Idaho has seen," Jillian Garrigues a Public Information Officer with Idaho Transportation Department said. "Here in the Treasure Valley, we have four of those 13 corridors.”
Most of these projects have been planned through years of gathering data.
CBS 2 News spoke with the executive director of COMPASS community planning association about the need for these projects.
“Southwest Idaho's roads are not up to date as far as the capacity that they need and the design that we need to have and that's because of the funding shortfall or funding challenges that we're facing," said Matt Stoll, the Executive Director of COMPASS.
Stoll says the answer to getting better funding for roads lies in the tax system among the growth and inflation in the Treasure Valley.
“We're recommending modernizing the revenue streams, the taxes, more fees that the citizens pay instead of being based solely on the gas tax," said Stoll. "We could modernize the gas tax, but with the introduction and likely expansion of electric vehicles as part of the overall motor vehicle fleet. The gas tax is really becoming an antiquated user fee and we need to change that.”
Stoll also says local taxing authorities may be the next answer to creating efficiency for road funding.
"A local option taxing authority actually authorizes and enables those voters in a given geography to decide whether they want to tax themselves or not without taxing or increasing taxes on citizens from other counties," Stoll added.
In some places across the Treasure Valley, work is being done, even though drivers cannot see it. A lot of that work is being done behind the scenes.
“We work with the legislature to implement the funding as soon as we are able to as soon as we are awarded that funding we're able to put it into projects to improve roads here in Idaho," Garrigues said.
Garrigues says although a lot of projects are still underway, there is always more room for improvement.
“We still have unmet needs in other roadways all across the state and any funding that we receive will be greatly appreciated and put into great use right away, right as soon as we can," Garrigues said.
For public input on these projects click HERE.