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Idaho Department of Transportation District 6A co-coordinator JoAnn Wolters brought the Salmon City Council up to date October 20th on efforts she and co-coordinator Judy Barkley are making to improve this area’s ability to connect Salmon with the outside world.

She said the transportation links that have been researched for the last year and a half will take time to connect however progress is being made. Her first news was that an application to obtain a van for Senior Citizens has been approved and the vehicle will arrive next Spring. She thanked the city for its support as fiscal agent for the grant and said Lemhi County has agreed to cover the required match of approximately $3,000.

In reporting on a grant application to provide transportation for those who have no other means of getting to Missoula and Idaho Falls, Wolters said the application served to point out not only to the district but to the state, the fact that good inter-city connections are needed for both Salmon and Challis.

At present the Salt Lake Express is connected with Greyhound Bus lines throughout the region. She said the state is currently looking at and moving towards a Washington State model plan of inter-connecting cities, including rural areas, and as everyone who lives here knows, Salmon is the furthest from everything. She said the idea of being able to book a reservation on a computer in Salmon and go to Texas or New York City is an exciting concept. “It is in the future. It isn’t going to be next year but it’s coming.” She said she is hoping to see a beginning of transportation connectivity by next year.

Wolters said the state is very happy to have participation from the community of Salmon and that she was recently selected to be on the board of the Community Transportation Association of Idaho (CTAI). The board is directed by the Idaho Transportation Department to work under a broad umbrella which deals with all mobility issues in the state. She said that thanks to current computer technology she can be connected to CTAI board work from any location.

Wolters is seeing a good future for this area’s transportation interconnections and commented, “If we don’t have a way to come and go neither do other people have a way to come and go…easily.” She said it can be done.

She invited council members to attend a state Transportation District 6A meeting scheduled for November 3rd at the Salmon Valley Center. The meeting facilitator will be District 6A and 6B Mobility Manager Jeff Osgood and Bill Shaw who is the head of roads and bridges and all transportation for this district. The focus of the luncheon meeting will be on mobility issues of Lemhi County and the city of Salmon.

In addition to the county’s $3,000 contribution to a van for the Senior Citizens, it has placed a “Mobility” line item in the County Road and Bridge Department’s budget and allocated $5,000 for it. Wolters encouraged the city to follow suit with a similar line item designation, no matter what the dollar amount. She said it was the local interest already shown that drew the state’s attention to this area and that the local interest needs to be united.

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