ITD Shoshone office move takes stage at Gooding Capital for a Day
The purpose behind the Capital for a Day event is to bring the state government to Idahoans that live outside of Boise.
"So every branch of government gets an opportunity to hear those issues that are concerned. Mostly my cabinet gets a chance to hear those issues. Then we go back home if we can't solve it here today, we go back home and we put together an action plan in order to solve the problem,” said Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.
In these "town meeting" style venues it allows the local residents the opportunity to have open discussions about issues, public policy and voice their concerns directly to the governor, his cabinet and other state officials.
This is the second time the governor has come to Gooding County and Monday's stop was his 97th Capital for a Day stop since becoming governor.
The open discussion forum drew questions on topics from across all legislative areas, but a prolong discussion occurred regarding the Idaho Transportation Department moving its headquarters out of Shoshone.
“I would like to talk to you about the Idaho Transportation Department, District 4 leaving Lincoln County. ITD leaving Lincoln County is basically going to cripple our economy. I can honestly tell you that, even with ITD’s studies they say its $250,000 a year just for Lincoln County. While that doesn’t sound like a whole lot of money, that’s an incredible amount of money to Lincoln County. It’s also going to affect Blaine County and Gooding County as well,” said Rebecca Wood one of Lincoln County’s commissioners.
The Idaho Transportation Department board voted on its list of potential new locations. Of those, none are in Shoshone where the headquarters has been for over 80 years.
The vote was unanimous. The decision to move headquarters comes from economic, social and impact study results.
Gov. Otter assigned specialists to handle the ITD move in regards to the engineering and economic sides of the entire case. He, himself did not have enough information to make a decision on which way he landed on the issue.
“I’ve been studying up on that. I’ve got not only the regional engineer here, Devin’s the regional engineer. But Jim Kempton is who I appointed for Region 4 — Transportation Region 4. And Jim is here to also offer what their plans are, and what they plan on doing. I have not seen the economic rewards yet that they’ve talked about or the reasons for the move. So until I see those I’m going to hold back a decision from me, one way or the other,” Gov. Otter said.
The Lincoln County Commissioners continue to plea for governor otter to step in and keep ITD in Shoshone.
"The devastation and the crippling effect on Lincoln County if ITD a state agency, moves out of a rural area and into Twin, it will leave us to where we're going to be coming to you saying how can you help us, we're crippled, we need assistance,” Wood said.
Other areas of concerned, which were discussed, were regarding the opioid crisis, increasing budgets and ways the government needs to help small businesses so they can continue to grow and expand.