Local Strategic Initiatives Program in Action
With the high volume of accidents at Prairie Avenue and Chase Road in Post Falls, Idaho, Post Falls Highway District sought the best option to enhance the safety and ease of traffic for travelers. On Monday, June 11, the Highway District broke ground on a new single-lane roundabout. Thanks to Ruen Yeager & Associates as the design engineers and LaRiviere as the main contractor, in just a few short days great progress has been made to complete the project by July 25, depicted below.
Post Falls Highway District has also been working closely with East Greenacres Irrigation District to replace a waterline within the scope of the project area. In speaking about the partnership, Post Falls Highway District Commissioner Terry Werner stated, “It worked out real well to work with the water district to get the projects done,” which will prevent the intersection from undergoing an additional construction project in the coming years.
As one of the seventeen projects awarded funding through the Local Strategic Initiatives (SI) Program, Post Falls Highway District received $1M to complete the roundabout. The program was designed to fund construction projects that are related to maintenance, and address safety and mobility concerns affecting the community. The program is funded through the Surplus Eliminator, resulting from the passage of House Bill 312 during the 2015 Legislative session. The bill requires state funds remaining at the years end to be distributed between the rainy-day fund and state transportation system. Fortunately, the 2017 Legislative session passed Senate Bill 1206 to extend the Surplus Eliminator for another two years and required funds to be shared between the state (60%) and local transportation system (40%). Currently, the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) administers the local share of the Surplus Eliminator which jointly combines the Local Strategic Initiatives Program with the Children Pedestrian Safety Program.
After reviewing and scoring 80 applicants, LHTAC approved funding for 17 Local SI projects amounting to $10.165M. Funding was awarded as a grant to the local jurisdiction, with a maximum award of $1M. Thanks to the Surplus Eliminator, numerous projects across the state have broke ground and will be completed by November 2018. However, the Surplus Eliminator is due to sunset in 2019, in which the Local SI Program and Children Pedestrian Safety Program will no longer receive funding without removal or extension of the sunset clause.
For more information regarding the Local SI Program and how to apply, please visit LHTAC’s website.