Bills Passing Congress Will Benefit Idaho



By Faye Hoffman

Congress has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in the last couple of days approving a massive defense spending bill, an energy bill, the highway spending bill, and money for veterans' medical care.

In the highway bill, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson says three Southern Idaho projects get more than $40 million over the next four years.

There's money to overhaul Highway 75 from Timmerman Hill to Ketchum, to build stages two and three of the Highway 93 bypass near Twin Falls and to continue the work to widen North Washington Street.

If the Senate OK's the energy bill, already passed by the House, $1.25 billion could be going to the Idaho National Laboratory for an energy demonstration project. The “Next Generation Nuclear Plant Project” involves developing a nuclear reactor that would generate electricity, but also produce hydrogen that could be used as fuel.

The project would be broken into two phases. The first would involve research and initial design of a prototype nuclear reactor, while the second phase would include applying for a license and building the plant.

Under the current plant, the first phase would be completed by September 2011, and the second phase by September 2021.

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