Growth Tops Concerns in Latest Treasure Valley Survey 

click to enlarge Jeffrey Lyons of the Boise State University School of Public Service broke down the numbers behind the latest Treasure Valley Survey. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Jeffrey Lyons of the Boise State University School of Public Service broke down the numbers behind the latest Treasure Valley Survey.
Growth is the number-one concern for Boise residents, according to the third-annual Treasure Valley Survey, presented at Holland & Hart on June 27.

"You can see there's a really sizable change that takes place since we last asked this question," said Jeffrey Lyons of Boise State University's School of Public Service, which conducted the study. "This is a real shift in mentality for these residents."

A "sizable majority"—72%—of the 1,000 people polled said growth is at the tops of their lists, with just one in four respondents saying the region is growing "just right." Additionally, almost 60% of respondents said land development should slow down. The findings are likely no surprise to city planners or residents, who have been grappling with issues associated with growth, like traffic, affordable housing, population expansion and access to well-paying jobs, all of which topped the list of respondents' most cited concerns in the survey.

The poll did point toward possible solutions: Almost three-quarters (73.4%) said the Treasure Valley could use more public transportation, with 54.1% saying more money should go in that direction. Lyons said, however, that respondents could be referring to anything from additional bus routes and mass transit to wider roads. The water is murkier when it comes to housing. While a "weak majority" supports the construction of affordable government housing facilities, people were divided over whether it was up to the government or the private sector to effect a solution.

Lurking in the background of widespread debates over growth in Boise has been the issue of the local option tax, currently reserved only for small resort towns by state statute. According to Lyons, there is wide public support for an expansion of LOTs, which would allow cities to go directly to residents with requests for tax funds for big projects. The Treasure Valley Survey bore that out, with 32.2% in favor and an additional 23.6$ strongly in favor of LOTs specifically for transportation.

"Should cities be able to local-option tax? Across the state, we have this north-of-60% group saying they're in favor of cities being able to do this," Lyons said. 

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