federal funding bill takes us another
Last week’s Congressional approval of the federal transportation bill takes Idaho a step closer in realizing the vision to create a 21st century transportation system.
The legislation received overwhelming support in both houses of Congress and was unanimously endorsed by Idaho’s delegation – senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo and representatives Butch Otter and Mike Simpson. Their support was instrumental in passage of the bill and reflects their commitment to achieving Idaho’s transportation priorities. Their foresight and hard work is truly appreciated by all of us.
What does it mean to Idaho?
According to the Federal Highway Administration, we will receive a 30.32 percent funding increase over the life of the bill, or approximately $276 million annually. In contrast, Idaho received $216.3 million under TEA-21.
The federal funds serve as a solid base for, and an appropriate complement to, Governor Kempthorne’s visionary Connecting Idaho initiative. That plan will transform today’s transportation system into a safer, more efficient system. It will help sustain Idaho’s robust economy, address our rapid population growth, help us develop additional transportation options and improve safety for all travelers.
Unquestionably, these are ambitious goals. I am convinced we have the people, expertise and determination to achieve them. And now we have the tools.
The transportation bill lists 14 priority projects that will positively impact every region of Idaho, from U.S. 95 at the Canada border to U.S. 30 near McCammon. We worked closely with our Congressional delegates to identify priorities that address the greatest needs. Those priorities are listed in our five-year Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.
Our vision for a new transportation system extends beyond construction projects. The new bill will enable us to re-evaluate how we maintain the system, expand and improve public transportation options, continue our substantial progress in making Idaho highways safer and explore new and more efficient ways of conducting business through planning and research.
And it will allow us to do our jobs faster, smarter and