Otter's road funding bunch turns eye to public transportation Thursday

Gov. Butch Otter's Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding will hear from the chairman of a new seven-member Public Transportation Subcommittee that will consider Idaho’s long-term public transportation needs and funding options.

“We’re looking for better ways to leverage state, federal, local and private funding to provide more effective public transportation for Idaho,” Otter said in a news release. “Better coordination will lead to improved service, less congestion and cleaner air. It’s up to this subcommittee to explore how to get all that done in a sustainable way and within the people’s means.”

The task force holds its fourth meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Capitol Building’s Garden Level West Wing, Room 2. The subcommittee is to be introduced at 2:50 p.m.

Otter appointed the task force last year, after he'd failed to convince lawmakers to boost transportation taxes and fees for the second year running. Recommendations from the group are due in December, after the biennial legislative elections and Otter's reelection bid are decided.

The subcommittee will be chaired by David Bennion of Boise, a retired engineering firm executive. Bennion has almost 40 years of infrastructure development experience. He also has held leadership positions with the Public Works Licensing Board, Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, Boise Economic Development Council and various civic organizations.

The other subcommittee members include State Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Eagle, a former Idaho Transportation Board chairman. Joining Bennion and Winder are Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint and state Reps. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, Bill Killen, D-Boise and Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls and Republican Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank. Smith is a former ITD Board member.

The agenda for Thursday’s meeting, additional information about the Task Force and a way to submit suggestions or questions can be found at

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Bennion will be strong advocate for road construction

With CH@M Hill's strong background in highway design and construction, Bennion will be a strong and capable advocate for highway design and construction as the solution to our mass transit problems. He is a good choice.

More roads is not the answer

Mass public transportation is. If you had decent mass transit from Boise to Nampa/Caldwell, and Boise to McCall, you would have efficiency, less accidents, and cleaner air.

Are buses really more efficient that 12-15 cars?

Fifteen passengers

2 are going to catch a jet plane (hardly a fuel-efficient vehicle)

At least four are elderly or car-deficient low income

5 are reducing car use or the bus fare was acceptable while awaiting repairs

1,2 possibly are returning to civilization after serving terms in a jail or a similar repopulatory move.

3 actually ride regularly


Like a midair collision with a tugboat