Idaho travel infrastructure in need of modernization

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 9:27 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — As Idaho continues to grow, the demand for updating the roads we travel on continues to increase.

According to a study done by Trip, a National Transportation Research nonprofit, Idaho saw the 8th highest vehicle miles traveled increase from 2000 to 2019. While this means good news for Idaho’s economy, the infrastructure being used to support the economy is wearing down.

According to the same report, 4% of Idaho’s interstate bridges are currently deemed structurally insufficient. This ranks 11th out of the 50 states.

“Approximately 2/3 of the structurally deficient bridges are at least 50 years old--that’s the age where these bridges begin to need significant rehabilitation,” says Rocky Moretti, Director of Operations at Trip.

He also says, “With 15% of the 44% increase coming from trucks, modernization is needed to make the interstate system, the backbone of Idaho’s economy, the safest it can be.”

With a new infrastructure plan in the works between Congress and the White House, Moretti laid out what must be done in order to fix many of the issues with the interstate system. “A 2019 congressional report found that more than double the current national investment is needed in order to fix the issues.”

However, the federal government alone won’t be able to fix the issues. “Collaboration between both the federal funding, and state and local funding is needed to ensure Idaho’s highways are in good condition, continue to be reliable, and continued safety improvements are made so Idaho’s interstates continue to be the safest portion of the state’s transportation system.”

With a deal likely coming soon between Congress and the White House, the necessary increases in funding will hopefully be a part of the budget.

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