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Idaho Transportation Board Subcommittee on

 

State Highway System Adjustments

 

June 7, 2006

 

 

Idaho Transportation Board Subcommittee on State Highway System Adjustments Chairman Monte C. McClure and Members Jack Combo (Board Vice Chairman), Gary Blick (Board Member), Joe Haynes (Local Highway Technical Assistance Council Administrator), Charles Rountree (Deputy Director/Transportation Planning Administrator), Steve Hutchinson (Chief Engineer) and ex-officio member Scott Frey (Federal Highway Administration representative) met at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at the Idaho Transportation Department, Boise, Idaho. District 4 Assistant Engineer (ADE) Scott Malone, District 4 Senior Environmental Planner Chuck Carnohan, Senior Transportation Planner Garry Young, Secretary to the Board (SB) Sue Higgins, and several local representatives were also present.

 

January 18, 2006 Minutes. Member Combo made a motion to approve the Subcommittee meeting minutes of January 18, 2006 as submitted. Member Blick seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

 

Extension of SH-46, Wendell to Buhl, District 4. At the May 18, 2006 Transportation Board meeting, a delegation of local officials requested clarification on the right-of-way acquisition for the proposed extension of SH-46: whether the highway districts are to acquire the ground only or if they are also responsible for related costs such as damages and relocations. SB Higgins summarized excerpts of various documents related to the right-of-way acquisition responsibilities. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) states that the locals’ responsibilities include “Preserve the right-of-way corridor along the final location route by acquiring the rights-of-way where possible and obtaining purchase options if necessary.” Several documents referenced following federal right-of-way acquisition requirements. Per federal guidelines, normal business practice for right-of-way acquisition includes compensation for damages and relocation.  The process used at ITD is that all issues are cleared and “certification of right-of-way” means that the Department has a clear title.

 

Referencing the federal right-of-way acquisition requirements, Member Blick commented that there had been discussions regarding using state funds for the route, rather than federal. The intent was to reduce costs, as less extensive environmental work would need to be completed and the route could be constructed to state standards. He questioned the necessity of following federal right-of-way acquisition procedures if federal funds are not used. Member Rountree replied that an earlier Attorney General opinion expressed concern with liability issues with substandard upgrades. He stated that in addition to clarification on the right-of-way acquisition responsibilities, the local officials had also questioned the funding source. He believes ITD would have three potential funding options: District operating funds, end-of-the-year unobligated funds, and programming a project in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.

 

Chairman McClure does not believe the funding source for this route should be limited to strictly State funds. He would like the option of using federal funds. He believes the initial intent of the Subcommittee was to have the local officials acquire the right-of-way, including all related requirements such as damages, because it could purchase the right-of-way for less money than the state could. He believes the purchase option may be the best method to secure the right-of-way.

 

Larry Rincover, who the local officials hired to obtain the right-of-way, said initially purchase options were believed to be the best method; however, now he is unsure. His concern is the purchase option would be based on today’s costs. When the property is actually purchased in four or five years, the cost could be quite different. Another complicating factor would arise if the current property owner sells the property before it is actually purchased by the local entity.

 

Chairman McClure acknowledged the highway districts’ concerns with funding the right-of-way. He asked for agreement on whether the purchase options are to include improvements.

 

Member Haynes made a motion to have the right-of-way purchase include damages. Member Combo seconded the motion and it passed unopposed.

 

Regarding funding the right-of-way acquisition, Chairman McClure’s understanding was that the local entities would fund that. The right-of-way acquisition would be the locals’ contribution to this project. Member Haynes concurred. He believes that was the initial intent. He added that the Buhl Highway District has been seeking funds for the right-of-way; however, its latest application was not approved for funding in the Incentive Program.

 

In response to Member Rountree’s question on the current status of the acquisition, Mr. Rincover said the process is proceeding well. Contact has been made with almost all of the property owners, but no right-of-way has been acquired. Some additional work needs to be done on damages. He does not believe the total cost has changed significantly; it is still around $1.6 million. Between $25,000 and $30,000 has been expended to date on this project. The final appraisal report will be completed in about one month. It will then be presented to the highway districts for approval before offers are made on the properties.

 

Chairman McClure suggested that after the highway district commissioners review the report and determine the financial situation, they could approach the Subcommittee for funding assistance.

 

Mr. Rincover said once appraisals are completed, offers need to be made within a specified time frame.

 

Member Blick asked if the appraisals and right-of-way acquisition could be completed on one side of the canyon first, and then later, the other side could be done. Mr. Rincover indicated that is an option, as each appraisal stands on its own.

 

Member Combo asked if the acquired right-of-way would be in the respective highway district’s name or if it would be under ITD ownership. Member Hutchinson said the property would be under ownership of the local entity until a system transaction is completed. When the Board approves transferring jurisdiction of the route to the state system, the right-of-way would be transferred to ITD at that time.

 

Member Rountree stated that the funding source has not been identified. Member Combo believes the funding source should be determined before offers are made. He asked if the funding could be determined on a property by property basis. Member Rountree discouraged that approach. He believes the best method is to identify the funding source and establish a project for obligating funds for the acquisition of right-of-way.  He stated that not all of the right-of-way has to be purchased at the same time. Offers could commence on the appraisals that have been completed to date.

 

Mr. Rincover said work has only been done on the Wendell side so far. He believes the right-of-way acquisition report should be ready next month for the north side.

 

Mr. Frey cautioned that advance right-of-way purchase has the risk of prejudicing the project, which is not acceptable if federal funds are used on the project. Having secured right-of-way can not be a factor in the decision on where the route will be located. He also emphasized that if federal funds are used in the future, credit would be given to the right-of-way purchase. Funds expended on the right-of-way could be used as match, but only the appraised value of the property, not associated acquisition and relocation costs.

 

Chairman McClure said the locals should proceed with the right-of-way acquisition on the north side. Once the report has been completed and presented to the involved parties, the Subcommittee will review the funding situation. Member Rountree reiterated that the right-of-way acquisition includes damages and related issues; not just purchasing the ground. He asked for clarification if the right-of-way acquisition report and financial information should be presented to the Subcommittee or the full Transportation Board. The consensus was for the Subcommittee to review the information and then provide a recommendation to the full Board.

 

Member Blick asked for confirmation that if the state provides funding for the right-of-way now, the local entities would continue maintaining the route until ITD transfers it to the state system. Member Hutchinson concurred.

 

Wendell to Hagerman Route, District 4. Member Hutchinson said the Subcommittee received an earlier request from local officials to add the Wendell to Hagerman route to the state system. He reported that new traffic counts were conducted on the route. Member Rountree added that a new rating was then completed. Mr. Young summarized the rating, which resulted in a score of 58.

 

Chairman McClure stated that the policy is to consider adding routes to the state system that score a minimum of 70. Although Member Blick does not support adding the route to the state system at this time, he acknowledged the locals’ concerns and understands their desire to relinquish the road. He questioned some of the criteria used for the rating system, such as the interstate continuity.

 

Hagerman Highway District officials Dwight Osborne and David Tupper expressed concern with the increased traffic on the route and resultant safety issues.

 

Member Haynes said if there are changes to the route in the future, this issue could be revisited.

 

SH-79, City of Jerome, District 4. Member Hutchinson said District 4 met recently with the City of Jerome to continue negotiations for the state’s relinquishment of SH-79. ADE Malone distributed a draft MOU. Member Hutchinson supported the proposal. He added that details such as timing on implementing the various responsibilities and actual transfer and maintenance issues will be specifically outlined in the document that is presented for approval.

 

Some of ITD’s responsibilities would be to:

-         fund the rehabilitation of SH-79: estimated at $1,380,000;

-         complete repairs on the route;

-         fund  a seal coat from Main Street to I-84: estimated at $140,000;

-         perform signal warrant analyses for D Street and I Street in 2010 and if warranted, fund projects: estimated at $300,000 per intersection; and

-         pay the City of Jerome a one-time payment of $160,000 for operations and maintenance.

 

The City of Jerome would:

-         assume ownership and responsibility for South Lincoln (SH-79) from milepost 0.1 to 1.9; and

-         assume responsibility for intersection improvements after 2011 for intersections with D Street and I Street.

 

Member Rountree emphasized the need to address access control near I-84 in the MOU.

 

Member Haynes made a motion instructing ITD staff to continue negotiating with the City of Jerome on the state’s relinquishment of SH-79 based on the draft MOU and to bring a final document to the Subcommittee for approval. Member Rountree seconded the motion and it passed unopposed.

 

ACTION: Hutchinson DUE: July 10, 2006

 

Review Rating System. Member Rountree said changes to the rating system to incorporate an economic factor were proposed at the January 2006 meeting. He asked if the Subcommittee concurs with the changes.

 

Member Haynes said he presented the changes to his Council, and it supported the revised rating system. He also relayed the Council’s appreciation to the Subcommittee for its efforts.

 

Member Rountree said technical changes would be made to the administrative policy to update the rating system.

 

Member Combo expressed concern with a rating system of 110 potential points. Mr. Young replied that the interstate system continuity criterion is hardly ever a factor in rating routes. If it would be considered, it would be a bonus of up to 10 points.

 

Member Combo asked what Idaho Code section references consideration of system continuity. Mr. Young believes that criterion was included based on logic.

 

Member Rountree added that the Board policy would be updated to reflect the revised membership of the committee.

 

The consensus of the Subcommittee was to revise Board Policy B-09-06, State Highway System Adjustments only to update the Subcommittee structure, and to update A-09-06 with the revised rating system, with a possible bonus of up to 10 points for the interstate system continuity criterion, with some theoretical examples for better understanding of the interstate system continuity criterion.

 

ACTION: Rountree     DUE: July 2006

 

The meeting adjourned at 12:00 noon.

 

 

 

_______signed______________

Respectfully submitted by:

SUE S. HIGGINS

Secretary

Idaho Transportation Board

Page Last Modified: 9/27/2006 2:58:54 PM

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