March 15, 2005

Crapo Amendments Protect Access, Kids, Fish, Jobs

Senate committee transportation mark-up promises funds for rural states

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo joined with his colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this morning to approve a transportation funding bill that will promote rural infrastructure and transportation needs. S. 1072, which authorizes federal aid for highways, highway safety programs and transit programs, was approved by the committee and will now be sent to the full Senate for further consideration.Crapo offered a number of amendments approved by the committee, which increased safety for school children, improvements at railway-highway crossings, and enhanced fish passage and public access on federal lands. The $255 billion transportation bill is estimated to create more than two million new jobs over the next six years if approved by the full Senate. â??With the federal government owning so much land in Idaho and much of the West, federal investment in the transportation infrastructure is needed and appropriate. Without good interstate and arterial routes in the rural states, citizens of our nationâ??s major metro areas could not efficiently move people and goods between the West Coast and the Midwest and the East,â?? Crapo said during committee discussion of the bill. â??In addition, these amendments will double the federal funding for railway-highway crossing safety projects in the bill from $100 to $200 million annually and increases funding from $50 million to $70 million for the new safe routes to schools program.â??Crapo also directed a share of the funds to go to forest highways that are prevalent in Idaho. â??Under my proposal, not less than $15 million will be spent annually to repair culverts and bridges on our forest roads to improve access and fish passage,â?? Crapo said. â??With two-thirds of Idaho being forested public lands, these roads are the way many of us go to hike, hunt, fish, and camp. Moving products to market and accessing our public lands are both appropriate priorities in this legislation as we move it to the Senate floor.â?? # # #FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267. Press 327 at any time during or after the greeting and instructions. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at .