The importance of following up

By Rep. Mark Sauter, R-Sandpoint
Reader Contributor

Three weeks ago, residents of Sagle learned of an effort by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) to evaluate some alternatives for Highway 95 improvements. This came as quite a surprise to those contacted, and prompted understandable concerns. This paper did a great feature article on the issue. 

Last fall the ITD held a meeting in Sagle to “freshen up” its highway plans — the last full update was in 2010. Feedback was taken and a preliminary option (not discussed last fall) has been developed. This new option reroutes the highway through housing areas, across farmland and very close to an elementary school. It includes a longer path to get from one end of Sagle to the other and avoids most of the commercial areas of Sagle. 

Rep. Mark Sauter. Courtesy photo.

I have followed this issue since learning of it: becoming a follower on social media, meeting and speaking with some of the involved parties, meeting with ITD staff in Hayden, contacting the governor’s office and doing research on the ITD website. 

There is much more for me (and all of us) to learn. I will stay engaged in this important issue. 

ITD officials have stated they are evaluating several options and looking for feedback from our community. They stressed they will be working over the summer and plan to have a public meeting to share information and gather more feedback in September. Until then, ITD will be doing continued planning and evaluating on this corridor.  

Sagle residents who have organized their concerns into a community effort have been asking for residents to write the ITD with their concerns. They are correct in their direction for our area residents. A Facebook page has started and continues to be very active.

ITD administrators have confirmed that letter writing, emails or calls are the best ways for residents’ concerns to be submitted and recorded. They stressed the importance of residents being constructive with their messaging and opinions.

It is critical to understand that ITD does not monitor non-ITD social media pages or groups or the associated comments, so any comments made through those channels are not being captured as input for this planning project. 

It is also important to know that additional opportunities for periods of official public comment will be available following this fall’s public meeting events as well, and that comment period will be the most appropriate and effective way to ensure your thoughts, opinions and concerns regarding this project are heard.

The project email address [email protected] and the dedicated project hotline is 208-243-9326. Mail comments by letter to:  ITD, 600 W. Prairie Ave., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho   83815.

Rep. Mark Sauter is a Republican legislator representing District 1A. He serves on the Agricultural Affairs; Education; and Judiciary, Rules and Administration committees.

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