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Eye On Boise

Winder: ‘Any director at ITD is in a tough situation’

Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, who chaired the Idaho Transportation Board for 11 years, said, “I think any director at ITD is in a tough situation, because there are certain members in the Legislature that don’t really give a lot of credibility to ITD. And so I think they use the director as kind of the person that’s accountable, and I think they’ve whipped up on the last two or three that have been around there … they become a target for dissatisfaction or disagreement between the Legislature and the department.”

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, agreed. “I personally work with the director fine,” she said. “But I do understand that there are others that have been frustrated with the director - my sense is that the controversy surrounding transportation funding in Idaho is really the issue. And unfortunately, as the leader of the agency, she’s in the spotlight.” Added Keough, “It’s a very tumultuous time at ITD, and quite frankly, I’m not sure anybody could do it. Anybody in that position is going to have a hard time right now because of the shortfall in money and the demands on the system. It’s a very big agency. It’s a huge task for even (a person with) the best skills to take on.”

Winder said he’s been hearing rumors about a change in directors ever since the legislative session; he also heard plenty of grousing about past ITD directors. “I’ve heard the same rumors, but never from anybody at ITD,” he said.  “There are a lot of kind of undercurrents, behind-the-scenes things going on. Some of them are valid, some of them are political, and some are just ways to try not to address the funding for ITD.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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