May 22, 2009
Idaho among leaders in advancing projects to bid
Idaho has secured almost 78 percent of its federal transportation stimulus funding, second only to Oklahoma and well ahead of the national average of 37 percent. States must meet federal requirements to qualify for stimulus funding, one of which requires having 50 percent of funds obligated to construction projects by July 1. Idaho has obligated $148 million of the $182 million it qualifies to receive in stimulus funding.
Insurance changes announced for benefited employees
The Office of Group Insurance recently announced significant changes in health insurance coverage for all benefited state employees, effective July 1. The only change to the state of Idaho’s contract with Blue Cross will be to prescription drug coverage, says ITD Human Resource Specialist Carlin Hill. In an effort to help employees plan for the changes, HRS distributed an e-mail message to employees Monday, outlining some of the major changes.
Questions & Answers
Employees posed the following questions to a recent announcement about changes in state employee health insurance. Answers are provided by Human Resources Services. Please direct any other questions to Human Resources Specialist Carlin Hill.
Survey responses will lead to positive changes
Outstanding! That is the best way to describe the response of ITD’s employees to the Organizational Benchmarking Survey conducted earlier this year. “The superb response of employees in sharing their insights, observations, and areas of opportunity for improvement will pay huge dividends” said Director Pam Lowe in her remarks to the department’s administrators.
See summary of survey responses
ITD introduces video element to Web site
Navigating ITD’s Web site can be somewhat tricky for the average Internet user, especially with such diverse topics as DMV, Aeronautics, 511 and higheay project information all in one place. To help guide the way, ITD has added a new feature to its home page – ITD In Motion.
School bus drivers, ski patrol honored for highway cleanups
The driver’s seat of a school bus provides a good view of the highway, and sometimes the view isn’t pretty. Roadside litter, left by careless or uncaring motorists, became a sore spot for Bear Lake School District 33 bus drivers Judy Smith and Carole Hymas. So they decided to do something about it. They adopted a two-mile section of U.S. 89 in southeast Idaho as their home on the road.
Extra patrols committed to seat belt campaign
Wearing seat belts protects lives, reduces serious injury and saves Idaho money so ITD is supporting law enforcement efforts to increase seat belt usage during a statewide seat belt enforcement campaign that continues through May 31. More than 50 Idaho law enforcement agencies will dedicate hours to educate citizens and to strictly enforce the state’s seat belt law during the 14-day period that includes Memorial Day weekend.
Law enforcement launches 'Move Over' campaign
The Idaho State Police and local law enforcement agencies are engaged in a media campaign to educate motorists of the "Move Over Law" that went into effect on July 1, 2006. Many of the motorists are not aware of the law, which was enacted to protect emergency responders from being hit while making traffic stops. In 2008, there were 133 officers killed in the line of duty and 18 of those were from being hit by vehicles.
Three states to step up Memorial Weekend patrols
The Idaho State Police, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Washington State Patrol will have every available trooper working and are asking for motorists' cooperation over the Memorial Day weekend. All three agencies expect to see increased traffic volumes, including motorcycle and recreational vehicles. Motorists should expect to see extra tri-state patrols on I-90 between Ritzville, Wash. and Missoula, Mont., over the Memorial Day weekend.
Take time to honor contributions of U.S. Military
Sen. Mike Crapo
Throughout the year, America does much to honor the service and sacrifice of our military members and their families. We observe many holidays including National Military Appreciation Month, Military Spouse Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day, Gold Star Mother’s Day, National Military Family Month, and Veterans Day.
AAA predicts slight increase in Memorial Day weekend travel
The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects the number of Americans traveling the Memorial Day holiday will increase 1.5 percent from a year ago with nearly 32.4 million travelers taking a trip 50 miles or more from home.
ITD to assist holiday travel on Idaho 55
If your Memorial Day weekend (May 23-25) plans include travel on Idaho 55, ITD advises you to avoid the heaviest traffic by traveling outside peak travel times and/or using alternate routes. Since 1995, ITD has assisted motorists over the longer Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends at the heavily used junction of Idaho 55 and the Banks-to-Lowman Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway.
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News to Share
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Views to Share
Do you have a question related to ITD processes, policies or projects? Has something been puzzling you about why we do what we do? Share your questions using the e-mail link above and let us find the answers.
Rough Road Ahead
Motorists pay hidden costs for deteriorating highways
Keeping the nation’s highways in good repair is a daily battle against age, weather and the wear and tear of unrelenting traffic. As a result, 33 percent of the nation’s major highways are rated in poor or mediocre condition, according to a new report, Rough Roads Ahead: Fix Them Now or Pay for It Later. And rough roads cost drivers hundreds of additional dollars annually in vehicle operating costs.
Idaho drivers face additional vehicle costs of $318 because of road conditions
The results of a collaborative national study released last week confirmed what many Americans – including Idahoans – already knew. From coast to coast, and border to border, the condition of our highways continues to deteriorate.
Investment needed to preserve highways
Killer potholes. In a flash they can dislodge a hubcap, shred a tire, or even worse, cause a driver to lose control of a car. But they can also be a symptom of a much deeper problem – deteriorating pavement that takes much more to repair than a simple patch.
A glance at an emerging crisis
One-third of the nation’s highways – interstates, freeways and major roads – are in poor or mediocre condition, according to Federal Highway Administration data.
Director Pam Lowe and Deputy Director Scott Stokes (right) met with ITD employees in the Headquarters Auditorium and, via video conference, with district personnel Friday afternoon to explain the department's emphasis on Performance Management.
The initial session will be repeated Monday (May 18), from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Employees are asked to participate Monday or view a video of the presentations that will be available later to become familiar with the program. It will become a foundation for all decisions and actions. (See related story.)
ITD 'full-court press' helps new Canyon County office open on time
Less than a week before moving to the new location on Graye Lane north of Cleveland Boulevard, ITD’s Enterprise Technology Services network staff discovered a potential setback. The network lines to the new office’s Division of Motor Vehicles terminals were routed through a county-owned network designed primarily for telephone service.
Applications accepted for annual ACE Academy
Navigating small airplanes, controlling air traffic and exploring Blackhawk helicopters are all part of the Aviation Career Exploration (ACE) Academy, June 29-July 2, hosted by the Idaho Transportation Department's Division of Aeronautics. Thirty teenagers will have the opportunity to participate in the academy, which is open to high school students ages 14-18. Applications must be postmarked by May 30.
State to discontinue paper paycheck stubs
The State Controller’s office announced last week that it will discontinue the printing of pay stuffs for employees who participate in direct deposit, effective June 12 .Employees who do not have access to an Internet-connected computer at work or home are advised to contact payroll staff, said State Controller Donna M. Jones.
Open enrollment period opens for insurance
Open enrollment continues through June 3. During Open enrollment, employees may switch from one medical plan to another, add previously declined dependent dental coverage, change their pre- or post-tax premium withholding status, or enroll/re-enroll in the Flexible Spending Account program