Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ask for local option

I recently got a letter from Idaho Smart Growth with the news that the Governor's Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding is investigating funding tools for public transportation. Idaho is one of only three states without a dedicated source of funding for transit.

Does this mean that, at long last, gentlemen ranchers Butch Otter and Mike Moyle are going to climb down off their high horses and confess that, yes, we live in an urban area? Hmmmm, as a veteran of too many years in the local option battle, I'm not placing any bets. But I've submitted my comments (due by September 15) and you can do the same. Here's what I wrote:

Idaho officials talk about local control and being fiscally responsible with tax dollars. That's the very reason the Idaho Legislature and governor MUST , at long last, allow local communities with the option of deciding for ourselves whether we want to pay a little extra in sales tax to have better public transportation, a new bridge, bike paths, or what have you.

Idaho is one of only three states that does not offer a dedicated state or local source of funding for public transportation. Please enact local option authority for Idaho, with no more than a 60 percent pass threshold. As our population ages and we continue to see the costs of our reliance on oil, Idahoans will want more transportation choices.

Thank you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Boise through new eyes

Former Texans Michael and Maria Smith entertained many of us six months ago with their explanation on the Statesman editorial page of how they chose Boise as they new home. The Smiths are back in the paper today with a long list of what they've quickly learned to love about Boise - and a very short list of stuff with which they are not so pleased.

One of the pleasures of having friends and family visit is seeing a place anew through their eyes. Reading the Smiths' article is like that, too. Enjoy.

As a bonus, this article is appearing just days after the Society of American Travel Writers' Western chapter meeting happened here in Boise. Here's hoping some of them are still lingering in town and will be able to sample a few of the riches the Smiths suggest.