When the big Garwood-to-Sagle freeway project on Highway 95 in North Idaho is completed, it may have a two-mile, two-lane bottleneck at its southern end before it reaches an existing four-lane highway at Hayden. The Idaho Transportation Board today reviewed an Idaho Attorney General’s opinion that found that the board can’t adjust the project’s southern boundary without specific authorization from the state Legislature. Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, proposed such legislation this year, but it died at the last minute in an end-of-session tiff between the House and the Senate.
Darrell Manning, ITD board chairman, said the board wants to expand the project to “what we all thought was the original terminus, but the law didn’t say that.” Said board member Bruce Sweeney, “This whole thing is crazy to start with - that’s where that whole project should’ve started in the first place.” ITD board member Gary Blick said the issue shows the danger of letting political pressure from the Legislature influence the state transportation board. “If our highway (system) becomes a political plum, we could have these kinds of things all over the state,” he said. “The professionals agree that it should be done, and the Legislature doesn’t.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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