July 28, 2005


Senate passes awaited transportation bill

Washington, DC â??Idaho will receive a 30 percent increase in federal transportation funding and nearly $150 million for specific critical highway improvements under the transportation bill passed by the U.S. Senate today. Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig secured $146.2 million for specific Idaho projects deemed critical to the state's road and highways.Idaho will receive an average of $276 million each year from Fiscal Years 2005-2009, an increase over the previous funding level which was $212.3 million each year. Federal transportation funding is generated by the 18 cent per gallon federal fuel tax.Crapo and Craig were also successful in ensuring that Idahoâ??s corridors, including US-95, remain eligible for federal funding under existing corridor programs. â??Idahoâ??s transportation systems are vital to travel throughout the West,â?? said Crapo, who is a member of the Senate Finance Committee that is responsible for tax issues relating to transportation and also a member of the Senate Banking Committee that deals with transit issues. â??This funding will not only allow Idaho citizens safer and more efficient travel, but will also ensure those same benefits for tourists and commercial usages. Today, the Senate recognized Idahoâ??s important highway and transportation needs.â??"This legislation provides funds vital to building Idaho's infrastructure, boosting its economy, and increasing the safety of our highways,â?? Craig said. â??These dollars will address the need to advance specific high priority projects all over the State, but will also support the goal of connecting our rural and urban areas."â??This bill is good for Idaho and the nation,â?? Dave Ekern, director of the Idaho Transportation Department, said. â??Idahoâ??s congressional delegation should be applauded for its work in advancing and providing the resources to address Idahoâ??s future.â?? Meridian Mayor Tammy DeWeerd said, "The Ten Mile interchange project is critical for our community and this valley as a whole. This project has been a great example of partnerships and how important it is to work collaboratively; the City of Meridian, the Idaho Transportation Department, Compass, and our Congressional delegation. Senator Crapo and his staff have been key to the funding of this project. We are appreciative of the efforts that have been made on behalf of this crucial project for our growing community, western Ada County and East Canyon County." Nampa Mayor Tom Dale said, â??The $8.6 million dollars is great news for the City of Nampa. I am grateful for Senator Crapoâ??s and Craigâ??s efforts in getting this money, which will help begin the Amity widening process. Itâ??s a fantastic compliment to Nampaâ??s GO-Bond for the Kings Overpass. The expansion of Amity will help the demands of Nampaâ??s growth for years to come.The Transportation bill also included funding for the following projects for Idaho:â?¢$27.4 million for improvements to widen US-95, Worley to Mica Creekâ?¢$22.8 million for improvements to SH-75, Timmerman to Ketchumâ?¢$19.6 million to construct an interchange on I-84 at Ten-Mile Roadâ?¢$13 million for improvements to US-93, Twin Falls alternate routeâ?¢$12 million for improvements to US-20, Menan-Lorenzo interchangeâ?¢$11 million for improvements to US-30, McCammon to Lava East (Pocatello)â?¢$9.6 million to reconstruct Grangemont Road (Orofino)â?¢$4.6 million to widen Amity Road to Kings Overpass (Nampa)â?¢$5.4 million for Washington St. north from Addison Road to Pole Line Road (Twin Falls)â?¢$4.6 million to widen Amity Road at Chestnut Street to Robinson Road in Nampa â?¢$5.8 million for Bridging the Valley in Coeur dâ??Aleneâ?¢$3 million for the Three Cities River Crossing (Eagle)â?¢$4 million for improvements to SH-55 (McCall)â?¢$2.4 million to widen US-95 from SH-1 to the Canadian Border (Coeur dâ??Alene)â?¢$1.6 million to widen US-95 from Top of Lewiston Hill to Moscow (Lewiston)In addition to these projects, transit funding for Idaho increased by more than 230 percent and several local transit projects were included in the bill:â?¢$9.562 million over four years for a multi-modal commuter center in Boise. This will allow an access point for commuters to park for public transit into downtown Boise.â?¢$1.5 million over four years for the Idaho Statewide Intelligent Transportation System for Public TransportationSoftware and office equipment will be bought under this funding to collaborate the current transit system for more efficient travel The bill was passed by the Senate by a vote of 91-4 and will now go the President for his signature.