Funding the Kalispell Bypass

This is a great example of the federal government helping local and regional governments

By George McLean

A big “thank you” to all the workers who recently completed the Foys Lake/Kalispell Bypass project! This was a large and complex work of construction, especially for a small rural community, and it will greatly expedite traffic flow and safety for many years to come, as well as being beautiful.

Where did funding for this $14.7 million dollar project originate? I’m sure that many local folks were curious to know – as I was – so I did some research. Libertarians might be surprised to learn that $12.7 million – the vast majority of the total – originated via a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation under a popular federal government program started by the Obama administration in 2009. Now referred to by the acronym “BUILD” the original “TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery)” was part of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act designed to stimulate a moribund economy amid the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2009.

This is a great example of the federal government helping local and regional governments to apply for important transportation projects beyond the limits of state and local funding.

 Since 2009 TIGER/BUILD has provided 678 projects worth $8.9 billion to both semi-urban and rural areas over widely dispersed geographic areas of the country. Grants are capped at $25 million, effectively eliminating large cities from monies. This $14.7 million contract was awarded to two local Kalispell firms: LHC Construction and KLJ Engineering Consultants, providing good, well-paying local jobs and boosting the local economy. Well done!

George McLean

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