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Idaho officials consider express corridor

NAMPA, Idaho – A study has found that building a north-south route intersecting Interstate 84 in southwest Idaho would connect seven cities and have a $4.2 billion positive economic impact on the area over 25 years and create 33,000 jobs over 30 years.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reported in a story published Sunday that the state-commissioned study also found that sales tax generated by new growth along the corridor would pay for the corridor improvements.

The project dubbed the Central Valley Expressway would extend state Highway 16 and connect the cities of Nampa, Caldwell, Meridian, Eagle, Star, Middleton and Emmett while relieving pressure on other roads in the area.

The expressway could be built within two years if state lawmakers pass a Transportation Economic Development Zone bill.

“We need another north-south corridor with our present population,” said Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa. “But we will continue to grow, and it will just get worse unless we do something.”

McKenzie said he likes the bill because it wouldn’t rely on allocations from the federal government in the future to pay for the project but instead relies on taxing districts where the project would be built.