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Congressman Rob Bishop

Representing the 1st District of Utah

Bishop Secures Transportation Projects for Northern Utah

March 23, 2007
Press Release
 Utah First District Congressman Rob Bishop announced today important transportation projects for Northern Utah that he helped secure as part of House passage of H.R. 3550, the Transportation Equity Act.  The bill, referred to by its sponsors as TEA-LU and which passed this afternoon on a vote of 357-65, reauthorizes for the next 6 years $275 billion in overall funding by the federal government for America's transportation projects and plans nationwide, including federal highway, public transportation, highway safety, and motor carrier safety programs.  The bill will translate into hundreds of millions of dollars for Utah's transportation infrastructure.

In addition to working on statewide transportation priorities with the entire Utah Congressional Delegation, Representative Bishop was successful in obtaining a funding authorization for two high priority and locally significant projects in TEA-LU.  Aside from providing millions of dollars which will come to the State through formula funds, this major authorization bill also allocates a portion of federal monies to smaller, regionally and locally noteworthy projects, including a couple in Utah's First Congressional District.  Congressman Bishop requested and obtained authorization for the following two projects:

• $3,000,000 for improvements to the Bear River Access Road in Box Elder County.  The Bear River Access Road runs east from the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge to I-15 and is known as Forest Street in Brigham City.  This vital road cuts across public and private lands, providing access to the Refuge.  Earlier this session, Congressman Bishop was successful in obtaining the final amount of funding required to allow for construction of a Visitor Center at the Refuge.  The authorized funds that will come as part of today's transportation vote will allow the Federal Highway Administration, in conjunction with Box Elder County and Brigham City, to make improvements to this road and help create an attractive gateway to the new visitor center.

• $5,000,000 for improvements to State Route 158 at the Pine View Dam in Weber County.  The Bureau of Reclamation recently completed seismic enhancements to the Pine View Dam, but made no significant improvements to the state highway which runs across the dam.  The narrow roadway with its hair-pin turns has become increasingly unsafe for residents and visitors to the area surrounding Huntsville, Utah.

Weber County leaders approached Congressman Bishop last year and asked if he'd make a request for funding to improve the road across the Pine View Dam.  Bishop contacted UDOT and determined that the most preferable solution would be to construct a bridge and divert traffic off the dam.  This view is also held by the Bureau of Reclamation, the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, and Weber County.  Constructing a bridge is the most expensive yet preferable option for the concerned parties.  Were it not for the inclusion of this authorization in TEA-LU, a solution to this urgent road need could well be years away.  Congressman Bishop's efforts get the ball rolling much more quickly and ensure this project a spot on the high priority transportation projects list in the state.

Following today's vote, Congressman Bishop issued the following statement:

"Improvement of Forest Street has long been a priority of county and city officials and so I'm pleased with the progress thus far to fund this significant project.  Improved access to the Refuge will lead to increased visitors to this culturally and historically rich area.  I'm also glad we could secure funding authorization for the Pine View road.  UDOT can move forward in solving this public safety problem by constructing the most safe and cost-effective solution.

"In addition to these two local projects, this transportation bill will help hundreds of millions of dollars flow into the First District and every part of the state to improve all aspects of our transportation system.  It was important to pass this legislation now to keep Utah moving.  I had actually hoped we could have authorized more money than the $275 billion we did today for America's roads and highways, and for improving Utah's infrastructure.  Fortunately, though, this bill allows for a review in a couple of years to see if the budget then will allow us to make additional investments in transportation.  I fully support more spending on transportation.  Road construction and transportation improvements always mean more jobs and are the backbone of our economy.  Having decent highways is about more than just moving people from point A to point B.  Roughly 90 percent of what we consume everyday moves on trucks on our roads.  Without a doubt, transportation is a core responsibility of the federal government.  I look forward to the future and finding ways to get even more money to build new roads and repair the ones we have.  Congress must help keep America rolling."