A Senate committee has narrowly defeated another attempt by Sen. Sam Kitzenberg to expand U.S. Highway 2 across the Montana Hi-Line from two lanes to four. The Senate Highway and Transportation Committee voted 5-4 on Thursday to defeat a bill that would have tapped the state’s booming oil and gas revenues to pay for the highway expansion. “I’m in the middle of defeat, but still I think there’s a reason it will go,” said Kitzenberg, a Glasgow Democrat who is in his last session as a state senator. Kitzenberg said he still has hope that Montana’s congressional delegation will find money for the road project, which he believes holds the key to economic recovery for declining towns along the Hi-Line. “It has been my dream for many years,” Kitzenberg said. “I don’t know how many avenues I’ve explored to bring economic improvement to the Hi-Line, and I’m excited about it.” The current bill would have used state money for the project. That’s different than bills Kitzenberg brought in the past seeking federal funding. Kitzenberg said that although he still hopes for federal money, he’s trying for state cash now because North Dakota has almost completed expanding its own section of the highway up to the Montana border. If Montana leaves U.S. Highway 2 as a two-lane road, traffic from North Dakota could detour to the south through Sidney to catch I-94 at Glendive, bypassing the Hi-Line, he said. The bill likely failed because lawmakers from western or southern Montana didn’t want to distract traffic away from their areas, Kitzenberg said. “It’s been a long road, but I don’t feel like today was the end,” he said.