Update and Public’s Opinion on Proposed Light Rail from Boise to Caldwell
As traffic builds up the use for light rails becomes more and more appealing for many. One is being proposed that would stretch from Caldwell to Boise and would run parallel to Interstate 84 also a second system for downtown Boise. Although many wonder if it will EVER happen OR if it is even a good idea.
There is a website IdahoRail.com that has a propose to "inspire a bipartisan grassroots movement to reestablish rail transit in the Treasure Valley. The Treasure Valley’s population is almost at the same point of Salt Lake County when they began to plan and design for their first light rail line." They note on the site that “Idaho will spend $330 million on the 5 mile Nampa-to-Caldwell I-84 widening project (1). For similar money the Treasure Valley could have a commuter (2) and connecting Downtown Boise (3) rail transit system.” (1) Idaho Statesman (2017), (2) VALLEYRIDE Rail Corridor Evaluation Study (2003), (3) City of Boise Downtown Circulator Study (2017)
The Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho, or COMPASS, was asking for the publics opinion on the proposed plan and posted a survey on their website that ended with a response of over 11,700 people. The vast majority, 92 percent to be exact, voted in a positive way. While this is looking good for the project moving forward it still could be years and years, possibly even decades before a light rail is actually fully functional and running. According to Channel 7, "only 6% said they don't support it and 2% needed more information."
Rachel Haukkala, The Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho's Associate Planner said, "The process to plan and build a high-capacity transit system takes decades. While the survey results were predominantly in favor of high-capacity transit, it will still be many years before final decisions are made or a system is in place. Any future plans would include significant additional public input and would need public support for funding."
Hmmm. public support for funding could be a problem. We asked for locals opinions on Facebook and got a mixed response for sure. Here are some of the comments:
Owen M. - Do you not learn from the other cities? It is cheaper to put buses on the road and you will still lose money. Light rail does not work in the heat and they cannot work in the cold. Ask Portland they are a pain in the neck and the people here get robbed daily. Some have even lost their lives due to this people trap. Please do not waste your money on this.
Megan M. - I can see a reason for it but I don't see the cost of putting it in paying for it in the long run. if they make it affordable to use. Idaho has too many rural areas and its spread out so much I don't see a lot of people using it. now on the other hand I can see it being used for the responsible adults going out to drink will use it to get back home.
Chad B. - Great another useless money sucking idea that will never get done! Kinda like the roads thru out Boise and meridian area!
Shannon H.N. - Yes! Have you driven I84 between Boise and Caldwell lately??
Rusty P. - Need less people not more transportation
Jake O. - Public transportation is a wonderful idea. It could very well cut down on the insanity that is I84.
Mindy L.G. - Do you know how many times this has been discussed? My entire adult life! I’ll believe it when I see it.
Marjorie C. - Yes, it would be a great idea. I think it should go from Caldwell to Mountain Home.
Phyllis M. - I don't see people using it here unless your from big cities people like there independence to much here