by Andrew Crisp
A bike share system for Boise is pursuing private and public funding, but so far, no federal transportation grants have materialized.
The system needs about $650,000 to get off the ground, according to an update on the project delivered to the Boise City Council officials Tuesday, Oct. 16.
The plan calls for 14 stations set up around the city, with 140 bikes in total. The system would be administered by Valley Regional Transit, and users would pay for a membership or per trip by credit card, while the first 30 minutes of any trip are free.
Central District Health Department spokesman Dave Fotsch and CDHD administrator Hilary Flint-Wagner updated the council on seeking more contributions for the project.
Capital City Development Corporation, Boise State University Transportation and Parking Services department and CDHD have dedicated $64,000 to the project. Fotsch and Flint-Wagner asked the city to match those funds with $64,000 of its own.
"It's time Boise joined the growing list of cities with bike share systems," said Fotsch.
After the initial capital cost of installing the system, the operating budget would be about $480,000 the first year and about $332,000 in subsequent years. The plan's second-year budget showed a profit. Fotsch said CDHD will submit proposals to another round of federal grant programs for capital costs. Those programs have a November deadline.
"Chasing the federal funding, especially these days, may be out of our reach," said Mayor Dave Bieter.
Bieter suggested looking at other options, rather than chasing federal dollars. Fotsch said that was part of why they asked the city for their contribution.
"We're not putting all our eggs in the federal funding basket," said Fotsch.
Council members suggested seeking sponsorships or advertising deals for individual bike stations, and opportunities for collaborating with groups like Boise Bicycle Project. Fotsch said companies like St. Luke's Boise Medical Center were "very interested" in the project.