Risch Foreign Relations file

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch signs an official document in Washington, D.C., in September 2019.

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Originally published Aug. 10 on KTVB.COM.

In a 69-30 vote on Tuesday, the Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that will bring billions of dollars of infrastructure investments to the Gem State. In a rare instance of bipartisanship, both of Idaho's Republican Senators voted for the Democrat-backed spending bill.

"The bipartisan legislation we passed today makes investments in traditional, hard infrastructure projects to help keep pace with Idaho’s rapid growth," Idaho Senator Mike Crapo said in a statement on Tuesday.

Senator Jim Risch said in a statement that he chose to support the bill over a larger spending package that Democrats are working on in Congress.

"I believe it to be the substantially more reasonable and conservative solution to the necessary infrastructure spending," Risch said.

Infrastructure bill in US Senate contains big boosts for Idaho roads, bridges, broadband

Under the current infrastructure bill, Idaho would receive $2.5 billion for roads and highways and $213 million for clean water projects. The bill also has $5.5 billion penciled in to address drought resiliency for Western states, $25 billion for airport improvement projects and $3.3 billion for plans for wildfire risk reduction.

The bill will have another $30 billion for work on bridges, which will be distributed to states based on need. Idaho has 286 bridges that are rated as structurally deficient.

"I voted to move ahead on the infrastructure bill because it is a reasonable solution to address the pressing need of our deteriorating roads and bridges," Risch previously said of the infrastructure bill.

Crapo said on Tuesday the bill will make investments in Idaho that will help the state keep up with its growth.

“It does not raise taxes. It reprioritizes the use of certain unused COVID-relief funds away from bailouts and idle funds, shifting them toward supply-side investments that will provide benefits to Idahoans for many years," he said.

Risch broke down his vote to a simple vote for the lesser of two evils.

"Senators had two choices: this $550 billion package with no tax increases, or allow Democrats to pass the Biden proposal of $2.5 trillion, raise taxes, and pile it on top of their impending $3.5 trillion social spending spree," Risch said. "I intend to vigorously oppose Democrats' reckless $3.5 trillion social spending bill, which is coming next."

The infrastructure bill now heads to the House of Representatives before it'll make it to President Joe Biden's desk.

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