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Stimulus funds lead to jobs on Kootenai NF

by Western News
| March 10, 2009 12:00 AM

The U.S. Forest Service announced on Monday that $1.15 billion has been allocated to the agency as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – commonly referred to as the stimulus package.

Approximately 10 percent of the Forest Service projects submitted for stimulus funds were announced. Locally, Kootenai National Forest said it will use funds to hire local contractors for the operation of heavy equipment to work on various road maintenance projects.

Work slated to be performed includes blading roads, road hazard removal, drainage and surface repair, removal of stumps, reinforcing slopes and culvert repair.

Forest Service officials said the work is expected to commence as soon as the snow melts and allows access.

“These funds are hopefully just the first of several rounds of funding which will make good jobs available for Libby and surrounding communities, while getting good work done on the ground,” said Quinn Carver, acting Kootenai Forest supervisor while Paul Bradford is out of town this week. “The work will be contracted out and started as soon as weather permits.”

More construction, improvement and maintenance projects in the region are expected to be funded and announced over the next three months along with authorized fuels reduction projects. Nationally, the remaining 90 percent of projects, totaling $1.052 billion, will create an additional 23,500 jobs, the Forest Service said.

For further information on individual projects on the Kootenai, call Paul Stantus at 406-283-7766.