Idaho won't need to change any laws, just timely spending, if Congress passes a second stimulus to spur jobs in highway construction, according to Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) Director Brian Ness. The U.S. House approved the second stimulus package, called the Jobs for Main Street Act, last year, but there has been no movement in the Senate. Idaho could get $182 million for construction under the current plan.
Ness sent a letter to Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, saying current state laws are adequate to let ITD meet the turnaround requirements of the federal spending plan. It would require half of all the money for construction projects to be awarded within 90 days. Ness said ITD can reach that mark, as long as the Idaho Legislature approves the spending quickly after Congress passes the plan. He said ITD will be ready if Congress passes the plan. "We would have the construction project ready," Ness said. "In fact, we try to have an increased number of projects ready in case other states don't get all of their funding."
McGee had called the 90-day timeline on the federal package "shovel-ready on steroids." Last month, ITD officials said the second stimulus could be passed as early as February, but there has been no vote on the plan in the Senate. Ness didn't have an update on if or when it could pass.
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