Yesterday, at a meeting of the COMPASS (Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho) Board, I was the only member to vote no on a motion to move a list of transportation projects along. What was my problem? These projects will require a 20-percent match of local funds, but when I asked from where these funds would come, the answer was unsatisfactory, at best.
It was explained that the local jurisdictions (i.e. cities, counties, highway districts) would have to provide local dollars when and if the projects received federal funding and moved forward.
We’re talking about large amounts of money here. The total cost of the proposed highway and transit projects, combined, is over $117 million. If even one of the proposed projects were to be funded, we are talking about a significant amount of money. At a time when ACHD (the Ada County Highway District) already has a backlog due to a lack of available funds and Ada County is even laying off Sheriff’s deputies, let’s face it folks – these dollars are just not readily available at the local level.
Before voting to move these highway and transit project proposals forward, there should be a feasible plan in place for how much and from whom the necessary matching funds will be collected in case the federal funding comes through. Until that time, I will continue to just say no.