Gov. Butch Otter awarded Bonneville County $500,000 Wednesday to fund road improvements near a planned nuclear enrichment facility west of Idaho Falls.
“This grant will support a project that will generate billions of dollars in continued economic growth to Idaho in future years,” Otter said in a news release. “Hundreds of new career-path jobs will be created at this site over the next 30 years.”
The Eagle Rock facility, backed by the French nuclear company Areva, has an estimated cost of $3.3 billion. The U.S. Department of Energy has approved a $2 billion loan guarantee to help with construction of the plant. Otter mentioned the Areva plant in his State of the State address earlier this year, and during re-election campaign speeches.
The $500,000 comes from the Idaho Department of Commerce’s Rural Community Block Grant program. It’s the largest potential grant in the program designed to improve infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and public utilities, to distressed rural parts of the state.
The money from the state general fund will go to build an overpass on a highway west of Idaho Falls and other improvements intended to improve safety on the roads going to the 4,000 acre Eagle Rock facility.