Gov. Dave Freudenthal signed a scaled back version of
legislation Feb. 25 that will accelerate funding for multilane highway projects
The new law, previously SF127, calls for a one-time infusion
of $7 million for engineering and constructing multilane highways. The revenue
will come from the state’s Budget Reserve Account.
Sen. Gerald Geis, R-Worland, recently told The Associated
Press the new law would help parts of the state lacking interstate highways
while Sen. Jayne Mockler, D-Cheyenne, termed the bill an appropriate use of
extra money the state is receiving due to greater mineral wealth.
The cost to widen existing two-lane roads into four lanes is
about $2 million per mile, said Del McOmie, chief engineer for the Wyoming
Department of Transportation.
At that cost, McOmie said new dollars would pay for only a
few miles of work.
The original language of the bill offered much more money
Sponsored by Sen. Michael Von Flatern, R-Gillette, the
original version would have diverted $36 million in federal mineral tax income
a year for four-lane projects, with no end date.
After numerous amendments, the House and Senate settled on
the $7 million figure.
In addition, the Senate also removed reference to four-lane
highways; “multilane” was substituted because some areas might allow only
enough room for three lanes. Other segments might be widened to five lanes.