By Tim Leeds
Gov. Judy Martz will hold a public meeting on widening U.S. Highway 2 to four lanes when she comes here Wednesday and makes Havre "Capital for a Day."
Martz has invited state Sen. Sam Kitzenberg, R-Glasgow, to attend a meeting at the Duck Inn at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the issue. Kitzenberg authored Senate Bill 3, a bill passed by the 2001 Legislature directing the Montana Department of Transportation to seek federal funding to widen the highway.
Kitzenberg has claimed that the transportation department keeps putting up roadblocks to prevent the widening of Highway 2 to a four-lane road. He has said that interpretations of the bill by MDT and by the Legislature's Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee would kill the intent of the bill.
Kitzenberg believes that widening the road would create an economic corridor from New York across the Hi-Line to Seattle.
MDT officials disagree with Kitzenberg's assertions. In an letter to Kitzenberg last month, Martz said she wants a discussion on the Hi-Line to clear up "misinformation" about the project.
Representatives of MDT, Montana's congressional delegation, the Montana Highway Commission and Rep. Bob Storey, R-Park City, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, have also been invited to the meeting.
Lt. Gov. Karl Ohs and members of the governor's Cabinet will also be in Havre. The events start with a welcome and open house with donuts and coffee at the Duck Inn at 10:30 a.m.
Cabinet members will meet with local people to address specific issues, and Martz will visit local schools starting at 11 a.m.
The Highway 2 meeting follows a luncheon, hosted by the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, at the Duck Inn's Olympic Room at noon. The luncheon is open to the public. It costs $6.95 a person.
Following the Highway 2 meeting, Martz will meet with Montana State University-Northern Chancellor Alex Capdeville at 3:15 p.m., and will depart with the rest of the visitors at 5 p.m.
Havre is the fourth Montana city to play host to the Martz administration under her Capital for a Day program. Other host cities were Laurel, Hamilton and Sidney. Lewistown will be Capital for a Day on Dec. 5.