Ever wonder why there is an Ada County Highway District?
Fed up with bad roads they spent too much to maintain, voters overwhelmingly approved a new agency to oversee all of Ada County’s local roads. The move was approved at the polls in May 1971 and took legal effect in January of the following year when ACHD began to operate. At the time, roads that were potholed, cracking and generally falling apart in the cities and an inequity in road funding provided the motivation for change.
City residents, who struggled with bad roads, paid property taxes to their city and to Ada County,
which was not obliged to spend road funds inside city limits. The result: Wonderful rural roads with little
traffic and pavement turning back into gravel inside many cities.
“We were going nowhere with regard to street planning and improvements,” said Hummel, a founder of Idaho Smart Growth, a planning advocacy group. “Putting the entire county and all its towns into one street and highway district was the solution – and still is today.
This 14 minute video, "If These Roads Could Talk" explores the reasons and politics behind the creation of ACHD. The piece features interviews with local architect
Charles Hummel and former Boise Mayor and City Councilman Dick Eardley. Local historian Susan Stacy also provides perspective,
and the video includes a number of vintage photos of the county’s past road problems.