Recent Press Releases

Thune - Johnson Announce $225 Million in Funding for South Dakota in Transportation Bill

Includes $40 Million for Phillips-to-the-Falls & $63 Million for Heartland Expressway

July 28, 2005

Washington, D.C. —  U.S. Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD) and John Thune (R-SD) today announced $225 million in project earmarks for South Dakota as part of the soon-to-be-passed Transportation Bill. Both Johnson and Thune were negotiators on the conference committee responsible for this much needed legislation.

This bill, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 (SAFE-TEA) is a five-year re-authorization bill covering America’s transportation, transit, and road safety network. The bill builds upon the previous transportation reauthorization bill that expired in September 2003.

The conference report also keeps the Senate’s protection for South Dakota’s formula funding, which guarantees that our state’s funding will not decrease over the next five years. Overall, South Dakota will receive roughly $1.3 billion over the next 5 years.

“Senator Thune and I went in swinging for South Dakota, and this transportation bill is truly a grand slam for our state. A favorable funding formula will allow us to plan for projects over the next five years, but in addition, we will be able to complete important projects like Phillips-to-the-Falls in Sioux Falls and the Heartland Expressway in Rapid City,” Johnson said. “Further, in rural areas of our state, a reliable transit system is a crucial link connecting people to their doctors, family, and jobs. This bill will bring jobs back home and add the infrastructure necessary for economic development across South Dakota.”

“South Dakota came out a big winner in this highway bill. This record level of funding will create thousands of jobs across South Dakota and will vastly improve the safety of our roads, bridges and highways. Senator Johnson and I worked together to secure funding for many important projects across South Dakota,” said Thune. “By investing these overdue funds into South Dakota’s infrastructure, families, tourists and commerce will travel more safely and efficiently across our great state."

Transit Formula Funding: SAFE-TEA makes a positive adjustment over the current rural transit funding formula by explicitly using land area as one of the factors in distributing transit grants. Changing the formula to include land area as a factor in federal transit funds significantly benefits South Dakota, and properly recognizes the long distances between many of our communities.

SAFE-TEA more than doubles the amount of federal funding directed toward South Dakota’s network of transit providers, increasing funding by a whopping 231 percent over the previous six-year reauthorization bill.

  • SAFE-TEA (2004-2009) Transit Funding = $47.8 million

  • TEA-21 (1998-2003) Transit Funding = $20.7 million

Included in the conference report is an additional $14.5 million in funds directed toward South Dakota bus and bus facility projects. This additional funding will allow for the State to work through a back log of maintenance and acquire much-needed transit and para-transit vans.

Senator Thune secured $150 million in earmarks, and Senator Johnson secured $75 million for a combined total of $225 million in earmarks for South Dakota. Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) has secured additional funding on the House side and will announce those projects separately.

This bill marks the final compromise negotiated by the transportation conference committee. The conference report will now be sent to each chamber for a final vote and then to the President for his signature.

The following pages include a list of projects jointly funded by Senators Johnson and Thune in the Transportation Bill.

Projects Funded Jointly by Senator Thune and Senator Johnson

  • $40 million for construction of Phillips-to-the-Falls for Phases II and III

  • $27 million for Heartland Expressway

  • $9 million to reconstruct South Rochford Road from Rochford to Deerfield Road.

  • $8 million to construct Rush Lake Crossing U.S. 12 near Webster

  • $6 million for reconstruction and paving of BIA Route 27, Wounded Knee-Procupine Butte

  • $3.6 million to construct Phase I -- South Connector Broadway to 29th Street, Watertown

  • $3 million to reconstruct SD-50 Cherry Street in Vermillion

  • $3 million to reconstruction of U.S. 14 -- Medary Avenue to 22nd Ave., Brookings

  • $2.5 million to construct the intersection of State Highway 212 and U.S. 81, Watertown

  • $2 million to purchase critical conservation easements along the Heartland Expressway (Highway 79) adjacent to Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park.

  • $2 million for reconstruction and paving of streets on the Flandreau Indian Reservation

  • $1.5 million extension of Main Street and replacement of rail crossing, Mobridge

  • Total: $107.6 million ($53.8 million by both Sen. Thune & Sen. Johnson)