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Friday, February 29, 2008

Idaho Moose Lose in Moose Vs. Train Incidents

North Idaho moose are suffering serious losses lately in a battle of wills with trains. Read the story here

If you have any pictures of moose in your neighborhood, send them to us. There are a lot of us city dwellers who would like to see them.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Legislature tackles transportation, public reacts

The talk in Boise this week has been centered around transpotation and how Idahoans are going to pay for it in the future.

According to Eye on Boise, the House Ways & Means Committee held its first meeting of the session today, gathering in a hastily called confab at 11:30 a.m. to introduce three bills. The three were: One from Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, and four co-sponsors to place more limits on the GARVEE bonded “Connecting Idaho” project; one from Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, to divert $22 million in existing sales tax revenue from tires, batteries and car accessories into the state highway account; and one from Smith and 15 House co-sponsors calling for a performance audit of how the Idaho Transportation Department does business with consultants and contractors. More of the story here

The reaction to Governor Otter's proposal is varied. Some are saying the car tab fees should take income into account here. Still others would like to see the fees replaced with an increased gas tax here

What revenue source would you purpose to cover a $200 million annual deficit in transportation funding?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spokane Website Visits Kootenai County

Our friends over at the 'Metro(Spokane)' website have jumped the border this week and are featuring pretty much all stories on development in Kootenai County.

Check it out and let us know how you like it. Any chance for a Metro(CDA) in the future?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Some want stricter sidewalk dining regulations

In this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press, reporter Lucy Dukes wrote about an effort to rachet down on Sherman Avenue restaurants that provide sidewalk dining. Of course, it's a controversial topic. There are some ADA considerations, but there are also some economic concerns. The story quotes two downtown patrons, who frame both sides of the issue:

Peter Joksimovic said he doesn't have room on the sidewalk to walk both his pit bull and Rottweiler once warmer weather rolls around. "I think people should close down Sherman (Avenue) during the summertime so people can walk down the road," he said.

Others like the sidewalks used just the way they are.

Larry Petillo says the streets never get so congested that walkers can't get through, and he enjoys outside seating downtown, where he takes his mother every day during the summer. "I think it's great that people are able to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather," he said.

Read the full story here

What are your thoughts on this issue? Should we make way for the pitbulls and rotweillers, or grin and bear it during the summer months?

Jeff's Take: Grin and Bear it

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Potential Highway 97 solution?

Ok, so water biking probably isn't the complete solution to traffic woes on the east shore of lake Coeur d'Alene, but we found this innovative commuting video on the Seattle Times website today. Sorry they didn't mention the name of the manufacturer, but I bet a Google search of "Water Bikes" would turn up some possibilities.

According to the guy in the video, the manufacturer doesn't recommended this bike for commuting in the Puget Sound, but I know a few diehard North Idaho bicyclists who would likely embrace this idea. Would you consider it?

Otter is serious about transportation funding

Idaho Governor Butch Otter released the following opinion piece to the Press today. It looks like a showdown is brewing around transportation funding...

How do you think the Legislature will address transportation funding needs during this session? Do you think election-year politics will drive the outcome?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Governor's proposed transportation funding takes first hit in budget cuts

It appears that the legislature cannot find the money this session to backfill a portion of the Idaho State Patrol's budget which is currently funded by state gas tax revenues. Governor Butch Otter had proposed this move as part of a much larger transportation funding package. Otter's transportation revenue proposal was designed to cover a $200 million per year deficit in state transportation needs. Along with the ISP budget shift, the state is looking at a gas tax increase, higher vehicle registration fees, and cuts in adminstrative costs at the Idaho Transportation Department.

According to a story in today's Spokesman Review, Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, said, "I'm hopeful we can make that shift … when our economic numbers look better."

The ISP funding shift is the only piece of the governor's plan to increase transportation funding that's emerged so far in this year's legislative session, the Spokesman reported. But McGee said a full package of proposed tax and fee hikes, from car registration fee increases to local-option taxes, is likely to be introduced within a week to target transportation needs.

More of this story Here

UPDATE: Otter responds to legislature's reluctance to shift ISP funding away from gas tax. Spokesman Review blogger Betsy Russell has it Here at Eye on Boise.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Truck Chains Made Mandatory on Idaho Passes

On Feb. 14, A committee of Idaho senators approved legislation to require truckers to chain up on three specific passes. Read the story below.

Do you agree? Have you ever been stuck in a backup because of a jackknifed semi?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is Walking In Your Neighborhood Safe At Night?

Health researchers have found that residents, especially women, who live in low income housing in neighborhoods considered unsafe at night, are less physically active than those who live in safer neighborhoods. In addition, the study, conducted in the Boston area, found that feeling unsafe may also diminish confidence in the ability of residents to become physically active. Researches recommended further study.

Safe to Walk? Neighborhood Safety and Physical Activity among Public Housing Residents. Bennett GG, McNeill LH, Wolin KY, Duncan DT, Puleo E, Emmons KM; Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

So do you feel safe to walk at night in your neighborhood? If not, is it because of the potential of becoming a crime victim or because your sidewalks are too scary to navigate in the dark?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Post Falls Increases Impact Fees

Post Falls is increasing it's impact fees for parks, public safety, and transportation to mitigate the impacts of new growth. Highway Districts in Kootenai County are also discussing the possibility of establishing a new impact fee process. Please read the Feb. 7 Coeur d'Alene Press article and give us your views on impact fees.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Public TV

On Jan. 24, Idaho Public Television aired a special hour-long edition of its’ show ‘Dialogue.’ On the show, host Marcia Franklin talked with the two top leaders of the Idaho Transportation Department, Pamela Lowe and Darrell Manning, about the ITD's current fiscal needs.The Idaho Transportation Board has identified a $200 million ongoing funding deficit for the Idaho Transportation Department. This session, lawmakers will consider options such as increasing vehicle registration fees to help remedy the situation, which comes despite a nearly $1 billion dollar bonding plan over five years to accelerate road construction using anticipated federal highway funds. To watch the piece, click on the link.