NAMPA, Idaho-The Treasure Valley's long-range transportation plan will for the first time include the preservation of farmland as one of its goals.
The plan, which indicates all of the regional transportation improvements needed over the next 20 years, is being updated by Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho, a group of local governments that work together to pan for the future of southwest Idaho.
The updated plan will focus on "preserving farm-to-market roads so that farmers have a viable way still to get their products from farm to market or the distribution center or processor," said Amy Luft, COMPASS' communications coordinator.
The Treasure Valley's population has increased 44 percent since 1990 and COMPASS estimates that by 2030, it will grow another 60 percent from just over 500,000 to nearly 800,000.
Luft said a lot of traditional farm roads are becoming commuter routes, which has caused conflicts between growers and city folks.
"As more housing and businesses go in adjacent to agricultural areas, we end up with a lot of conflicts so ... we will be looking at that and doing what we can from a transportation standpoint to help mitigate that," Luft added.
Once the updated plan is adopted, area planners will look at the impact to agriculture before deciding how to spend their transportation dollars. High on that list, Luft said, will be ensuring agriculture remains viable.
"If it's not something somebody can make money off of, it's not going to stay around," she said.
SOURCE: Sean Ellis, Capital Press