Nineteen cities and counties in eastern Idaho are applying for funding through a state program that will now help to build sidewalks, crosswalks and similar projects to help children walk to school.
Statewide 71 local governments got applications in to the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council before the Dec. 21 deadline. The projects that are going to be funded are expected to be picked by the end of January, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.
Janet Trujillo, who represented Idaho Falls in the state House until her appointment to the Tax Commission in early December, sponsored the bill that added children pedestrian safety projects to the list of types of projects that can be paid for through the local strategic initiatives fund, which diverts some surplus state revenue to local road projects. The available funding is expected to be about $11 million for 2018, according to the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council’s website. Of this $2 million will go to pedestrian child safety projects, said Deputy Administrator Laila Kral. The bill was introduced toward the end of the 2017 session and co-sponsored by House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, and passed both chambers with large bipartisan majorities.
Local projects in the running include pedestrians pathways and sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, many of them near schools, in the cities of Victor, Tetonia, Teton, Sugar City, St. Anthony, Shelley, Roberts, Rexburg, Iona, Idaho Falls, Firth, Driggs, Blackfoot, Ashton and Ammon, as well as a child pedestrian pathway near Riverview Elementary School in Bingham County, a pedestrian pathway by Iona Road in Bonneville County, blinking signage for a pedestrian crosswalk near the Butte County Junior/Senior High School, and repairing and fog sealing the Victor-to-Driggs pathway in Teton County.
Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757.