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Eye On Boise

Mon., Jan. 19, 2009, 3:55 p.m.

What happened to that management system

One of the sharpest criticisms of the Idaho Transportation Department in the new audit is that the department lacks a maintenance management system, a computer software system to track when, why and how certain sections of roadway are maintained. There hasn't been one since 2005, when the previous system became obsolete with the installation of a new financial management system. But the Idaho Transportation Board was well aware of this - in fact, the board made a conscious decision in 2006 to not replace the system because of the high cost of doing so, and instead put that money into road repairs.

The idea was to identify new funding sources for important needs like the new maintenance management system. "We recognize the need for a maintenance management system - we have a pilot project going on in one of our districts," said ITD spokesman Jeff Stratten. But that pilot project is nowhere near as extensive as what's proposed by the audit, which calls for investing in a $6 million new management system. House Transportation Chairwoman JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, said she wonders if the funding could come in increments, rather than all at once. But she's thrilled with the audit. "I thought it was very well done - it was exactly what we wanted," she said. "We were so concerned last year that we were not able to get the information we felt like we needed," to propose transportation tax or fee increases. "We couldn't justify to our public any increase where it was not clearly beneficial to the whole state," she said. Wood added, "What I really liked about this audit is the recommendations that came out of it - we should have the best department of transportation in the country if they follow all the recommendations that were made."

ITD Board Chairman Darrell Manning told lawmakers that he opposed the move to drop the maintenance management system and backs the call for a new one.

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.