January 23, 2009

Crapo Readies For Highway Reauthorization

Co-sponsors legislation protecting funding for Idaho, rural states

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, who has returned to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), is co-sponsoring legislation to protect the interests and funding of rural states during upcoming highway reauthorization efforts in Congress. Later this year, Congress will take up a renewed funding plan for the nation's transportation system. As a member of EPW, Crapo will work to ensure that rural states like Idaho are well-represented on the committee that will oversee the reauthorization efforts.

In planning for the reauthorization, Crapo is working with Senators Max Baucus (D-Montana), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota), Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) on two bills that make funding for transportation in rural states a priority. The Rural Opportunity and Development Act sets aside $1 billion for funding in rural areas based on population density and would benefit states such as Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico and Alaska. Additionally, the Nationwide Mobility Act is intended to ensure that the impending debates on freight movements and personal mobility give sufficient consideration to rural needs, rather than merely focusing on congestion in urban areas. The bill also raises the federal match for non-interstate projects in states from 80 to 85%.

"Idaho has been well-served by our efforts to prioritize rural transportation in the past and that effort will continue in the upcoming highway reauthorization effort before Congress," Crapo said. "By building a solid coalition of rural and Western state Republicans and Democrats and working with my partners in the Idaho Delegation, we will ensure that highway funding for states like Idaho and its neighbors remains a high priority."

"We appreciate Senator Crapo's efforts to protect the transportation interests of Idaho and all rural states," Idaho Transportation Department Director Pamela Lowe said. "Moving freight efficiently and safely across the country is critical to Idaho and the nation's economic strength."