Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mountain Rides eyes bus terminal

Organization wants to buy land in Bellevue

Express Staff Writer

Jason Miller

Mountain Rides Transportation Authority is looking in earnest to acquire land in Bellevue to build a bus terminal for the southern end of its system.

"It's a high-priority project for us," Mountain Rides Executive Director Jason Miller said. "The board has said, 'Enough's enough—we've been working on this for two years—let's make it happen.'"

Acquisition of property in Bellevue was the topic of discussion at a closed executive board meeting on Thursday, Feb. 3.

Mountain Rides has had its eye on a Bellevue property owned by the Idaho Transportation Department for several years. But Miller said the parcel, near the intersection of state Highway 75 and Gannett Road, may not meet the needs of Mountain Rides in light of potential intersection design changes included in a highway expansion project.

There are several other properties in Bellevue that Mountain Rides is now considering.

Miller referred to the terminal as a "transportation hub" that would include a bus garage for vehicles that serve the south valley, a maintenance facility and a park-and-ride lot. The land would have to encompass about two acres. Miller said a smaller parcel would be adequate if the park-and-ride is scrubbed from the plan.

Longer range, Miller said the terminal could serve as a park-and-ride facility for passengers to a new airport serving the Wood River Valley that might be built south of Bellevue.

The estimated cost for the terminal, including land, is between $1 million and $2 million, depending on whether a park-and-ride is included.

"The board has directed more work and focus on this project as far as getting a Bellevue facility figured out," Miller said.

Terry Smith:

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