March 16, 2005

Idaho Projects Funded In Va-Hud Bill

WASHINGTON, DC â?? Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo announced Senate support for a number of Idaho environmental and economic development projects in the Fiscal Year 2004 Veterans Administration, Housing and Urban Development, (VA-HUD) and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill. Craig is a member of the VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Subcommittee.â??I am very pleased that important funding for clean-up of the Coeur dâ??Alene Basin and educational facilities and development at many of Idaho's universities are included in this bill,â?? said Senator Larry Craig, a Senate Appropriations Committee member. â??In addition, funding for water and community development projects will be of great benefit to many areas in our state.â??â??This critical funding measure will bring much-needed support to many programs in Idaho,â?? said Senator Mike Crapo. â??I applaud the Senate for passing this conference report. In addition to supporting critical veterans health care and benefit programs, community improvements, and other federal projects, the legislation would help promote several important Idaho initiatives. The cleanup of North Idaho rivers is a priority in this bill, with more than $2 million appropriated, with additional clean water projects and water studies throughout the state. Among those efforts are university science and development projects, economic development, water infrastructure investments, and others projects in the state. I look forward to a speedy conclusion to the legislative process on this bill.â??Crapo serves on two Senate committees with oversight over many of the federal programs funded through the VA-HUD appropriations, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on which he chairs the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water; and the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Development Committee. Idaho projects listed in the VA-HUD, and Independent Agencies bill include:$2,000,000 in continued support of the Coeur dâ??Alene Basin Commissionâ??s program of environmental response, natural resource restoration, and related activities.$500,000 for the City of Burley Wastewater Treatment System Project to continue making significant improvements on service connections that are decades old, in an effort to attract new businesses to an area that has had to use outdated fixtures.$900,000 to the Clearwater Economic Development Association to continue the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Plan essential to prepare small communities in Northern Idaho to deal with the influx of tourism during the Bicentennial.$900,000 for expansion of the Sacajawea Cultural and Arts Center in Salmon, Idaho, to provide facilities that will capitalize on national and international interest in Native American/Western culture and history, and the arts. Current performing facilities only seat 120 and need improved lighting, sound, or practice facilities. $2,000,000 for improvements to the Burke Canyon water and sewer infrastructure. This project will increase public health by providing a moderated and controlled sewer system, which would replace the current substandard disposal system and direct discharges that dump raw sewage into local waters and threaten area bodies of water and those downstream. Unique area site characteristics and the socioeconomic nature of Burke Canyon require this support to implement construction to meet health standards.$800,000 for construction of an Environmental Science and Economic Development building at Boise State University (BSU). BSU is developing its Center to integrate environmental sciences, the study of the impact of public policy, and a program of constructing economic development strategies for a successful transition to Idahoâ??s economy and workforce of the future. The Center will focus on opportunities in information technology, environmental finance, and physical sciences, and other areas.$900,000 for the University of Idaho Performance and Education Facility. The performance and education facility proposed for Moscow, Idaho is a multi-use facility designed to be the home of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival; to house the public and scholarly portions of the International Jazz Archives; to provide practice and rehearsal space for the Lionel Hampton School of Music; and to house a state-of-the art performance space. It would be available for a variety of performances which, in addition to the Jazz Festival, would boost the regionâ??s economy.$1,000,000 for work between NASA Goddard and the Center for Advanced Microelectronics and Biomolecular Research at the University of Idaho Technology Incubator in Post Falls, Idaho. Funding will be utilized to broaden the development of applications of ultra low power, radiation tolerant electronics beyond communications processors.The bill now goes to a joint conference committee that will work out differences in separate versions passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Senator Craig has been appointed to be a conferee.[30]