By BOB ANEZ/Associated Press Writer
HELENA - Gov.-elect Brian Schweitzer today assured a contingent of government, tribal and economic development leaders from the Hi-Line that he supports their push to expand U.S. 2 into a four-lane highway.
''I still think they made a mistake,'' he said of the state Transportation Department's decision in September to back an improved two-lane for a 45-mile stretch between Havre and Fort Belknap.
Schweitzer said he considers an updated transportation corridor across northern Montana crucial to economic development in that depressed region of the state. He also said that the new Transportation Department director he appoints will have to be an advocate for eventual construction of a four-lane highway there.
Bob Sivertsen of Havre, president of the Highway 2 Association, told Schweitzer that the administration of Gov. Judy Martz ignored public comments about the need for a four-lane road and that the environmental study of the project should be amended to take into account those concerns.