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Havre drops Highway 2 membership

Havre City Council has dropped its membership in the Highway 2 Association, the citizens group that advocates for expansion of U..S. Highway 2 to four lanes.

Council vote 6-1 Tuesday night against renewing its membership. Only Councilman Brian Barrows voted in favor of the association.

Councilman Andrew Brekke has voted against joining the association for several years, but until now, he has been the lone dissenter. Councilwoman Terry Lilletvedt was absent.

Brekke said he didn’t think the city should be joining organizations and he had no particular objections to the association and its causes.

Brekke said it was a matter of principle and he had nothing against the group for the membership fee — $100 a year.

This year, he apparently swayed the other council members to support him.

The association and its president, Bob Sievertsen, have lobbied in Helena and Washington for funds to expand the highway to four lanes, arguing that it would be safer for motorists and would improve the economy by encouraging more commercial traffic in the area.

With the development in the Bakken oilfield, it is more important than ever to make the highway safer, argued Bob Kaul a former Havre city councilman and association vice president.

Speaking before the vote, Kaul said State Transportation Director Mike Tooley had told him that the advances alrady made on reconstructing Highway 2 would not have been made without the association’s work.

The association, in addition to working for the highway expansion, has been pushing for upgrades to Highway 232, arguing that it would encourage traffic to and from the Alberta oilfields to come through Havre.

The association has been working to expand ours at the Wild Horse port of entry.

While Hi-Line governmental officials have been working for basically the same goals, there have been conflicts with the association over tactics.

Kaul said most governments along the Hi-Line have maintained their membership in the association. In Hill County, he said, Hill County commissioners and the Chippewa Cree Business Committee are members.

Kaul said he was disappointed in the council vote, but quickly added, “that’s their right.”

“We will keep pushing to make Highway 2 four lanes,” he said.


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