Idaho's Transportation System Defined

Idaho's transportation system is comprised of a statewide network of more than 60,000 miles of road, about 4,000 bridges, 1,900 miles of rail lines, 125 public airports, and the Port of Lewiston. Of these, the transportation department has jurisdictional responsibility for almost 5,000 miles of highway (or 12,000 lane miles), more than 1,700 bridges, and 30 recreational and emergency airstrips. Also included on the State Highway System are 30 rest areas and 10 fixed ports of entry.

The transportation department also oversees federal grants to 12 rural and urban public transportation systems, provides state rail planning and rail-project development, and supports bicycle and pedestrian planning and projects.

State highway system is heavily used
The state is responsible for nearly 5,000 miles of roadway miles in Idaho, just eight percent of all roadway miles in Idaho. However, the state highway system accounts for 54 percent of the state's vehicle miles of travel (VMT). While the interstate system accounts for just 12 percent of the total state highway system mileage, 41 percent of VMT is on the interstates. From 1984 to 1998, VMT on the state highway system has increased more than 63 percent.

Air travel provides an attractive alternative
In a largely rural state like Idaho, air travel is an attractive alternative for business meetings, commercial carriers, emergency services, recreational access and individual trips. The Division of Aeronautics provides aid to all 69 city and county airports and maintains 30 state-operated recreational and emergency airstrips.

Idaho has::

  1. More than 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration certified aviators;

  2. Over 2,500 registered aircraft.

  3. 125 public airports, including seven primary and commercial airports; and 30 state-owned airports and airstrips.

  4. More than 1 million visitors annually who arrive via commercial airlines and general aviation aircraft.

Public transportation available to the majority of Idahoans
Public transportation service is available to 75 percent of the state's population.
Three systems serve the state's largest cities with populations of 50,000 or more:

  1. Boise Urban Stages (BUS).

  2. Pocatello Regional Transit (PRT).

  3. Targee Regional Public Transit Authority in Bonneville County (subcontracts to CART). Nine small-city and rural transit systems serve populations under 50,000:

  4. North Idaho Community Express in Coeur d'Alene (NICE) serving Kootenai, Bonner, Boundary and Shoshone counties.

  5. Trans IV serving Twin Falls and Jerome counties.

  6. Moscow-Latah County Public Transit (MPT) serving Latah, Clearwater, Lewis and Idaho counties.

  7. Ketchum-Sun Valley Transit Authority (KART).

  8. Treasure Valley Transit serving Canyon County.

  9. Region Public Transportation in Lewiston (RPT).

  10. Valley Vista Care serving St. Maries and Benewah County.

  11. Pocatello Regional Transit serving Bingham, Bannock and Power counties.

  12. CART serving Lemhi, Jefferson, Teton, Madison, Custer, Butte, and Fremont counties.

In addition to these agencies, there are nearly 70 organizations providing public transportation to the elderly and disabled across the state using lift-equipped vehicles purchased with federal funds.

In the last several years, voters in Idaho created two Regional Public Transportation Authorities (RPTA). The Targee Regional Public Transit Authority oversees public transportation in Bonneville County and the Treasure Valley RPTA operates in Canyon and Ada counties.

State railroad system connects Idaho with nation, Canada and Mexico
The 1,887 miles of railroad lines in Idaho include main lines, secondary lines, branch lines and short lines. The state is served by the Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads, providing connections to the United States, Canada and Mexico and six short line railroads, which act as feeders to the large rail carriers.

The transportation department neither owns nor operates rail lines. The role of the state rail program is to assist in the preservation of essential rail lines through planning and administering the federal Local Rail Freight Assistance Program and other federal funds that could become available.