Highway districts were formed in the early 1920’s by the Idaho Legislature as a means of improving the secondary road systems within the state, at a county level. A secondary road in Idaho is a road, paved or not, that is not located within a city or state system. There are 64 highway districts in Idaho with administrative responsibility for over 12,000 miles of roads. Highway districts are funded by a variety of taxes: fuel tax, property tax, sales tax, and other sources such as state and federal forest funds and impact fees. Each highway district has three commissioners who are elected for a term of four years . A road supervisor, a clerk, and various other employees who carry out the day-to-day road responsibilities staff highway districts. Each of the districts has direct supervision of all highways located within their geographical area. Supervisory duties include planning, design, construction, maintenance, snow removal, right-of-way acquisition, mapping, and all other phases of highway administration. Highway districts play an incredibly large roll in the surface transportation system of Idaho. Statewide, highway districts employ over 500 people and spend over 100 million dollars annually on highway construction, maintenance, equipment, and services.
In late 1928, several highway districts found a need to form a cooperative group of individual highway districts, primarily to represent them in the Idaho Legislature. As a result of this need, the Idaho Association of Highway Districts, Inc. was formed. The principle mission of the Association was to represent highway districts with a united front in the Idaho state legislature and to aid individual highway districts by sharing information and techniques. As time passed, the Association’s responsibilities grew to include local, and federal proceedings, membership on various governmental committees, legislative review, and research. The Association now also provides administrative, technical, and legal support to its members. Funding for the Association is derived from member dues and assessments. A full-time executive director, and various part-time employees and interns make up the Association’s staff. The executive director receives guidance from an executive board and a board of directors made up of individual highway district commissioners. The executive director administrates the Association, coordinates the legislative activities, and produces the annual IAHD Convention.