If the federal government has its way, it may soon cost more to drive.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this month on the nation's Highway Trust Fund, which said all 50 states received more in highway funds than they paid in highway taxes from 2005 to 2009.
The fund, which helped to build 4 million miles of roads and 600,000 bridges, was augmented with about $30 billion in general revenues since fiscal year 2008.
The United States has suffered a plunge in the level of economic freedom enjoyed by its citizens over the past ten years, according to the Cato Institutes' annual report Economic Freedom of the World for 2011.
The average economic freedom score for the US ranks it tenth, as a place of personal choice, voluntary exchange, and open markets – all of which are considered the foundations for economic freedom.
The US is exceeded in economic freedom by Hong Kong (9.01 out of 10), Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Chile, the United Kingdom, and Mauritius. The US score was 7.60.
One of the authors of a report accusing TransCanada of exaggerating the number of jobs and impact that would be created by the Keystone XL pipeline faced harsh questioning from a Nebraska legislative committee last week.
The exchanges occurred during the public hearing on a bill (LB4) that would allow the governor to have the final say on oil pipelines in Nebraska. Hearings on two more pipeline bills continue Wednesday during this special legislative session of the Nebraska Legislature.
Canadian Consulate representative Ladan Amirazizi got a standing ovation from members of the Montana Chamber of Commerce following her address about the relationship that exists between Montana and Canada – between the US and Canada. Obvious to all, in the banquet room, was that it was a spontaneous and sincere salute from Montana business people to Canada. It was a "thank you," an international handshake of respect – it was profound recognition of what the two peoples on both sides of the border mean to each other.
Amirazizi was the keynote speaker during the Montana Chamber of Commerce's annual conference held in Billings, an organization that is celebrating their 80th year. Amirazizi is the Acting Consul General and Senior Trade Commissioner for the Consulate General for Canada. Based in Denver, she is the official liaison for Canada for four states, Colorado Utah, Wyoming, and Montana. Amirazizi noted that Montana has as an especially strong relationship with Canada.
The Missouri River Basin governors were told earlier this week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposes a proposal to lower the level of a North Dakota reservoir in the hopes of alleviating flooding along the Missouri River.
In a memo to various impacted states to discuss at a future meeting, Brian P. Dunnigan, director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, wrote: "The Missouri basin governors recently received a copy of the Corps' response to (North Dakota state engineer) Todd Sando's proposal to lower the level of Garrison reservoir to elevation 1835.0 feet at the start of the 2012 runoff season. General McMahon concluded that the most prudent action is not to implement the plan proposed by Mr. Sando, despite the fact that several basin Governors have voiced their support for the plan."
There is a major shift in power happening in Canada. A shift in the population from Central Canada to Alberta is giving Alberta an increased number of representatives in the House of Commons. Alberta, located directly north of Montana, has been growing at more than double the rate of the national average. Its current population is 3.7 million. The province's increase in population and power is directly attributable to its development of natural resources.
The Big Sky Business Journal
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