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Eye On Boise

Business group backs megaloads

A business group called “Drive Our Economy” was launched this week – actually within moments of the ITD’s announcement that it was issuing but staying permits for four U.S. Highway 12 mega-loads - to promote plans to move gigantic loads of oil refinery equipment along the scenic North-Central Idaho route. Lobbyist Ken Burgess said the new group has launched a website to argue for the economic benefits of the mega-loads. “The bottom line is this: They are concerned about precedent,” Burgess said, as many oversize loads travel Idaho roads, though not to the scale of the mega-loads.


Click below to read the group’s full news release, which says the effort is “a project of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation.”

New Task Force Works to Protect $80 million of Local Economic Activity

Launch of Drive Our Economy signals collaboration of local business, agriculture, and community organizations



(LEWISTON, ID) November 10, 2010 – Today, local business, agriculture, and community organizations launched Drive Our Economy, a regional task force dedicated to promoting Idaho’s economy and protecting our roadways for commercial use.  Recently outside groups have attempted to interfere with local control over Idaho’s roads, putting at risk tens of millions of dollars in economic activity and threatening the state’s jobs.


Idaho farmers and businesses rely heavily on our roadways to move our products and to keep Idahoans employed.  That’s why the Drive Our Economy task force includes such a wide range of area business groups, agriculture groups, and interests,” announced Pat Richardson, Clearwater County President of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. “We’re working to ensure that our businesses can continue to freely use local roadways.  Outsiders like the Natural Resources Defense Council are using scare tactics around these ‘mega-loads’ to drown out a productive discussion about what’s best for Idaho and effectively take this debate out of local hands.”


Richardson continued, “What this comes down to is our jobs and our economy. The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation joined this task force because of the $13 million the Kearl project will bring our state and to protect the uninterrupted movement of agricultural goods, timber products, and any range of other materials that depend on fair access to our highways. Turning oversize permitting into a legal and regulatory nightmare is not in the best interest of our state’s economy.”



Pat Richardson is President of the Clearwater County chapter of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, an early member of the Drive Our Economy task force.  Richardson is a fourth generation agribusinessman whose family settled the area that now includes US Highway 12, in 1862.

For additional information about the task force, visit:

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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