October 29, 2007 in City

Cabela’s STAR funding could become model

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Cabela’s may be the beginning of the road for many hunters, but it’s the end of the hunt for Post Falls officials eager for a new Interstate 90 interchange.

Funding for a Bates Road interchange wasn’t going to be coming from the state, so Post Falls was stuck, said City Administrator Eric Keck.

Then the state passed a new law allowing Foursquare Properties, the developer of the shopping center where Cabela’s is located, to pay for the interchange and then recoup its expenses through sales tax refunds in the coming years. It’s called State Tax Anticipation Revenue, or STAR.

Engineers are working on the design. Public meetings will be held on the project next year and it will be under construction by 2009 and open by 2010.

“It’s extremely fast,” said Keck.

Officials across the state are looking at how STAR financing could pay for other projects.

Post Falls, for instance, would like to see a stalled Greensferry overpass at I-90 be built. The city spent $300,000 to finish the environmental impact study and complete other planning work, but there is no state money to build the project.

“There really aren’t any large projects near the interchange that could fund that,” said Keck of the prospect of STAR financing. Smaller developments, however, could pool their resources.

Meridian traffic engineers are looking at the financing mechanism as a way to fund a project to widen Eagle Road.

Developer CenterCal wants to build a 258-acre office, retail and residential development that can’t proceed without widening the road, and the Idaho Transportation Department doesn’t have the money.

Some oppose letting developers use the state tax anticipated revenue law, however, because it diverts money that would otherwise go into the state’s general fund.

“The one drawback is sales tax goes into the general fund and the biggest recipient of general fund funding in Idaho are the schools,” said Idaho Transportation spokeswoman Barbara Babic.

Treats not tricks

It should go without saying, but Halloween is Wednesday and that means little kids walking around in the dark during rush hour.

Parents: Have your kids stay on the sidewalk when possible, wear light-colored clothing and carry a flashlight. Make sure their costumes don’t obstruct their vision.

Drivers: Kids can behave erratically, especially when they are hopped up on sugar. Keep a lookout for them.

And keep a lookout for all pedestrians and bicyclists during the dark days of fall and winter.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, about 35 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur between the end of October and January.

Please, no fighting

Disclaimer: This item is not an endorsement or denouncement of studded snow tires.

The studded tire debate can create so much acrimony it seems that such a disclaimer is necessary when it comes time to announce that the tires will soon again be legal on Washington roadways.

Starting Nov. 1, the click-click-click of metal studs on pavement will be heard across the area.

Some will swear by their lifesaving properties. Others will decry the damage they cause to roads and point to other winter tire options as equally good.

It’s as much a November tradition in these parts as pumpkin pie.

Chains required

Studs are allowed in Washington from Nov. 1 to March 31, but for commercial truck drivers, chains are mandatory during that period.

The fine for not carrying them is $500.

Even more expensive than that is the delay. Troopers can force semi drivers to purchase chains before they will be allowed to cross a mountain pass.

Slow down and switch lanes

A Washington State Patrol trooper was injured Thursday when a pickup swerved off the road at Sullivan Road and 27th Avenue in Spokane Valley, hitting the trooper as he conducted a traffic stop. The driver, John B. Whitlock, was charged with DUI.

Trooper Wayne Turner wasn’t seriously injured in the incident, but it’s a good reminder to be careful when anyone – trooper, disabled motorist, crossing guard – is on the side of the road. Definitely slow down. Move over to another lane if possible.

“The shoulder of the roadway is basically a trooper’s office,” said Trooper Mark Baker.

Slow going

North

•Five Mile Road is closed from St. Thomas More Way to Strong Road until Wednesday. Traffic is detoured to Cedar Road as crews work on sewer lines and paving.

•Boone Avenue is closed just east of Ruby Street through November.

•Wellesley Avenue is reduced to one lane in each direction between Division and Lidgerwood streets as crews install traffic islands.

•Euclid Avenue is closed from Myrtle Street to Havana Street. Havana is closed between Euclid to Fairview avenues. Both are being paved.

West

•Hayford Road is closed south of Highway 2.

Spokane Valley

•Barker Road is closed Tuesday and Wednesday about one-quarter mile south of Trent Avenue.


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