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Dear Editor,

I participated in a Zoom meeting hosted by the Rexburg Chamber of Commerce on February 10 which featured Idaho legislative representatives from District 34. During that discussion, Representative Ron Nate mentioned that Idaho’s tax revenue has exceeded expectations to the tune of a nearly $700M surplus.

As I drive to work each day at Fall River Electric in Ashton, I experience the deplorable condition of U.S. Highway 20 between Chester and Ashton and the significant amount of semi-truck traffic traveling that corridor to and from Montana. Those highway conditions continue to worsen as ITD continues its patchwork of the potholes that seem to appear daily. I’ve followed ITD’s plan to improve the highway which annually kills people (most recently Joseph Sturgeon of Minnesota last summer). In previous years local residents the Clarks and business owner Michael Rasmussen have lost their lives on this stretch.

The environmental assessment (EA) for the planned improvements to US 20 is expected to be finished this spring but construction not planned until 2023. How many more of our local people and tourists need to die on this stretch of highway before it is given priority?

How about this idea? Rather than wait to ’23, forget the interchange planned on the portion of the 4 lane divided highway BEFORE Chester (750N) and rebuild the highway from Chester to Ashton in ’21-’22. This section is where the greatest danger to life and property damage exists. There is money in the bank now to afford this improvement rather than waiting for several more people to die and families to be torn apart!

Drive that highway and see if you don’t agree that the improvements are needed NOW not three years from now!!

Ted Austin,

St. Anthony