Boise Council Asked to Earmark More Funds for Circulator Analysis

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The city of Boise is preparing to roll more money toward its ongoing analysis on whether Boise should have a downtown circulator—Lately, Boise officials prefer using the term "circulator" instead of trolley or streetcar.

It has been over a year since Boise got back on board the idea of having a transit system downtown. In February 2014, Boise and the URS Corporation, which was hired by the city to oversee the analysis, asked citizens to draw their own ideas on maps: Most of them sketched out loops that ran north-south or east-west. According to feedback from the February 2014 open house, 54 percent of citizens said they preferred rail service, 26 percent wanted a circulating bus line. In September 2014, planners hosted two two-hour workshops for invited guests, which were mostly downtown property owners and tenants.

Now, the first stage of that analysis is in the home-stretch, but planners apparently need more money. On Tuesday, Jan. 13, the Boise City Council will be asked to route an additional $75,000 into the project, sliding the funds from the Public Works Department's management and operations account to the department's capital improvement plan account.  

Planners say the "scope" of the analysis changed when they decided to expand the study area and increase the number and type of public outreach events, which is why they need the additional funds, they say. The Public Works Department ended Fiscal Year 2014 with a $75,000 end-of-year contingency savings, triggering the proposed transfer.