Craig amendment will benefit U.S. 95
An amendment that will provide new funding for improving
U.S. 95 in Idaho has been approved as part of the overall $295 billion
highway spending bill, thanks to Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Larry Craig.
Crapo and Craig assisted in including an amendment to
H.R. 3, known as SAFETEA, which makes U.S. 95 eligible for funding under
a high-priority corridor provision in federal law. Prior to the senators’
work, some highways in Idaho and New York state had failed to qualify
for the high-priority designations because they could not be designated
as “multi-state” highways.
Crapo and Craig were original co-sponsors of the amendment
offered by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-New York).
Highways that are classified as corridors for a single state are not
eligible for “multi-state” designations. By making a technical
change inserted into the overall transportation bill, Crapo and Craig
were able to make U.S. 95 eligible for additional funding.
Crapo also worked closely with Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) while
a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to keep
rural states like Idaho from losing a favorable ratio of road dollars
to more-populated states. That ratio remains in the bill passed by the
“It is important that Idaho transportation planners know the money
is there, especially in light of the move to sell highway bonds,”
Crapo said. “Maintaining our infrastructure is critical to commerce,
and I support the dollar figure in this bill because the money comes
from a dedicated trust fund made up of gasoline taxes and other revenues
that create business and new jobs as well as improving our roads.”
"This is a strong bill for Idaho,” Craig said. “I am
pleased that Idaho will receive a large proportionate share of federal
dollars for its transportation needs – a key requirement of states
like ours with a relatively low population but many miles of highway.
Furthermore, allowing U.S. 95 to be eligible under the multi-state corridor
program will help us improve our critical north-south corridor for the
safety of the traveling public and the benefit of Idaho's economy."
“U.S. 95 is a critical corridor connecting Idaho to its regional,
national, and international markets. The citizens and businesses of
the state will be well served by (Tuesday’s) Senate action retaining
its special designation in the nation’s needed transportation
funding bill,” said David Ekern, Director of the Idaho Transportation
“The Idaho Transportation Board will now be able
to continue the momentum to make this a world-class trade and safe-travel
corridor. We deeply appreciate the efforts of Idaho's U.S. Senators
to ensure the continued special designation of the U.S. 95 corridor
under transportation funding legislation.”
The SAFETEA bill passed on a vote of 89 to 11. The U.S. House passed
a similar bill in March, so the measure now goes to conference committee.