Transportation agency spends $70,000 on ceremonies - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Transportation agency spends $70,000 on ceremonies

BOISE, Idaho. - The Idaho Transportation Department has spent nearly $70,000 on groundbreaking ceremonies since June to help the governor and other leaders mark the start of new highway projects around the state.
     
The price tag has rattled some state lawmakers who say the agency must become more efficient.
     
The Idaho Statesman reports a single ceremony planned by a private company celebrating the Vista Road interchange project in Boise cost more than $24,000. But four other events planned in-house totaled $10,000.
     
Agency officials say they hired the company because department staff was tied up on other projects.
     
A spokesman for Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter says the groundbreaking events are important for showing the public how tax dollars are creating jobs and improving infrastructure.

Official: Idaho roads budget far short of need

(December 3, 2010)

Idaho Transportation Department officials are warning a state task force that Idaho is now short $211 million a year from what it needs to maintain its roads and bridges in
their current condition.

The task force of lawmakers, transportation officials and business people was appointed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and is charged with coming up with proposals by December 2010.
     
The Spokesman-Review reports that consultant Tom Warne told the panel Wednesday that most states are very hesitant about doing anything with transportation funding right now and that the big federal funding increases Idaho has seen in the past won't likely be repeated in the next transportation bill.

Warne says the state can't rely on the federal government to fix transportation problems.

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