You may have read in the newspaper or heard recently on television the Village of Howard’s desire to have US Highway 41 reclassified to Interstate 55 when the Federal Highway Commission formally reclassifies US 41 as an Interstate Highway. I have received various questions regarding this issue, and hopefully this information will address further questions you may have.

Q: Why can we not leave it US Highway 41?

A: On July 29, 2005, Congress gave final approval to H.R. 3, a bill to reauthorize our nation’s highway, transit and safety programs through fiscal year 2009. Know as SAFETEA-LU, it provides a total of $286.4 billion in guaranteed spending from fiscal years 2004 through 2009. The program is funded from federal gas taxes paid into the Highway Trust Fund (with the exception of a small portion of the transit program). A portion of this bill authorized authorized the reclassification of US 41 from a US Highway to an Interstate. Since we know it will not stay a US Highway, the question is what Interstate designation should it receive? The Village of Howard believes it should be I-55.

Q: Why Interstate 55?

A: Interstate 55 is an existing interstate that traverses the following states: Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. It also provides near-direct access to the following metropolitan areas: Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans. From an economic development perspective, when you are recruiting a company, transportation infrastructure is critical. If the Green Bay area (Howard in particular) can claim having an international airport, two interstate highways (I-43 & I-55) and direct rail access, it provides an advantage when competing with communities recruiting the same company. When one of the interstate highways (I-55) provides multiple connections to other well-known highways, it enhances our opportunity to recruit businesses.

If anyone has further questions, please call or send me an email.