Transportation

The steep drop in oil prices is helping to pad the bottom line of Seattle-based Alaska Airlines. But don't expect lower fares on the horizon.

Predicting what lawmakers will focus on during the Idaho legislative session is a bit of a gamble. But after eight terms in office, Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, has a good idea of the Legislature's priorities -- after all, he has a big influence in shaping that agenda. Hill, who is the President Pro-Tem of the Senate, points to education and gay rights issues as topics  front and center for lawmakers this year.

Uber
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The city of Boise has issued a cease-and-desist order to Uber, the app-based car service company. City officials say Uber is violating an agreement not to charge passengers until the city gives it the go ahead.

Uber has been operating in Boise since October under a temporary agreement with the city. Boise and Uber were in negotiations for a permanent contract.

A coalition in Oregon and the Democratic governor of Washington want to juice sales of electric cars by providing more state incentives.

Judging from holiday advertising, lots of teenagers and grownups will find a drone under the Christmas tree this year. But the increasing affordability and popularity of remotely piloted airplanes and choppers is leading to conflict in Northwest skies.

Idaho State Police say troopers have issued more speeding tickets since the speed limit increased to 80 mph along stretches of Interstate 84.

Spokeswoman Teresa Baker says state police wrote 2,066 speeding tickets on I-84 between July 24 and Nov. 13. That's up nearly 20 percent from the same period in 2013 when 1,731 speeding tickets were issued.

Speed limits on some rural stretches of interstates 84, 86 and 15 rose from 75 mph to 80.

Lewiston, Idaho has had unusual bragging rights for the past 40 years. It's the farthest inland seaport on the West Coast -- 465 miles upriver from the Pacific Ocean.

Uber is coming to Boise, at least temporarily. The ride-sharing app, which connects passengers with drivers, starts a temporary free trail in the city Thursday.

Uber has been around since 2009 and operates in more than 200 cities worldwide.

It works like this: riders download an app on their phone, plug in a destination, and choose a driver to pick them up. Drivers use their own cars.

Nathan Feir / Flickr

Gas prices are dropping in Idaho and around the nation. Following a regular trend, Idaho’s prices were higher this summer than the national average, but winter prices tend to be lower. One expert says there are several reasons why.

Idaho had the sixth highest gasoline price in the nation at certain times this year.

wheat, grain, agriculture, montana
Daimon Eklund / Flickr Creative Commons

The Northwest wheat harvest is in full swing, but the export of grain has all but stopped at the Port of Vancouver, Wash. The shipments have been blocked because Washington state inspectors have stopped checking grain for export at the port because they don't want to cross a picket line in a labor dispute.

Farmers are calling for those inspections to resume after harvesting about 40 percent of Washington's wheat. Washington Wheat Growers Association President Nicole Berg farms 21,000 acres near the Tri-Cities.

A new poll finds Idahoans might not be so tax-averse when it comes to funding improvements to the state's roads and bridges. About 54 percent say the economic benefit is a compelling reason to increase revenue for transportation infrastructure.

transportation, river, train derailment
Kagan Yochim @TripwithKagan / Twitter

A Montana Rail Link spokeswoman says it took about 12 hours to remove the first of three commercial airplane bodies that fell into the Clark Fork River after a train derailed.

Spokeswoman Lynda Frost said Monday that specialized machines are pulling the 20-ton fuselages attached to 50-ton flatbed cars from the embankment one at a time at a rate of 20 feet per hour.

Frost says the most difficult fuselage to retrieve was removed safely Sunday. Crews are working on the second fuselage Monday and plan to remove the third by Tuesday.

The Idaho Transportation Department has suspended advertising for bids for future highway projects. Oregon and Washington may soon do the same.

According to AAA, Americans will see the highest Fourth of July gas prices they've seen in the last six years.

road, highway, interstate, I-15
Garrett / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Department of Transportation is delaying increased interstate speed limits that were originally scheduled to take effect July 1 as it looks over public comments.

Sections of I-84, I-86 and I-15 were supposed to see speed limits increased to 80 miles per hour.

The department has finished a review of increasing speed limits and will present its findings in mid-July.

ITD Chief Operations Officer Jim Carpenter says holding off on the increases will "allow a thoughtful and inclusive review, ensuring safety.”

Can two airlines be partners and rivals at the same time? Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines are long-term contractual allies. But now the relationship is being tested.

BNSF Railway said Friday it will comply with Saturday's federal deadline to provide states with information about the frequency and routes of oil trains from North Dakota and Montana.

Ada County Highway District

This post was updated June 6 at 4:00 p.m.

The temporary bike lanes in downtown Boise are going away.  That's according to the Boise Weekly.  The Ada County Highway District met again this afternoon to reconsider a Wednesday vote that killed the bike lane project.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Most of the people who use the Boise Greenbelt have a college degree. And last year, more people used it on weekdays. Those are two big conclusions from two years’ worth of surveys on the 45-year-old trail system.

Jaap Vos is director of the Community and Regional Planning Program at Boise State University. BSU has done surveys on the Greenbelt two years in 2012 and 2013.

With the summer driving season fast approaching, the Washington State Patrol is reminding drivers what to do and not do if you’re stopped.

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