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Conrad to Receive Award from Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute

Posted: Oct 5, 2005

In recognition of North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad's efforts on behalf of transportation in the region, the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University is giving him its highest award.

Conrad will receive the John Agrey award Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the Institute's award's banquet. The annual award was instituted in 1996 to recognize significant contributions to transportation in the region.

"As senior U.S. Senate Finance Committee member, Senator Conrad is able and willing to direct considerable transportation funding to North Dakota. He works for all forms of transportation, roads, air, rail, transit, etc.," noted North Dakota State Senator Tim Mathern in his nomination.

Mathern notes that Conrad was a key role in writing the just-passed federal Transportation Bill. Under that bill, North Dakota will receive more than $2 for every dollar paid in federal gas taxes. Conrad has also been an advocate for the work of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, securing support for the institute's Advanced Traffic Analysis Center and the Small Urban & Rural Transit Center.

"Senator Conrad has always realized the importance of mobility to North Dakota's future and he's worked hard to improve the mobility of all Americans," notes Gene Griffin, director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. "His work on the conference committee that reauthorized the Surface Transportation Act underscores his commitment to the mobility of people and freight in North Dakota and the region."

"I am honored by this recognition and I wish to thank both the Institute and Senator Mathern," Conrad said. "Investing in our transportation network is one of things we can do to grow the economy in our state. North Dakota's priorities are my priorities."

Conrad is serving his fourth term in the U.S. Senate and is an advocate of fiscal discipline and the protection of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, especially in his role as ranking member of the Budget Committee and as a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee. As the representative of one of the most rural states in the nation, Conrad also serves as a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

A fifth-generation North Dakotan, Conrad is a native of Bismarck. He began his official career in politics in 1968 when, as a teenager, he headed up a statewide campaign to grant voting rights to 19-year-olds. In 1980, Senator Conrad won his first statewide race for North Dakota Tax Commissioner. He was re-elected to the office in 1984 and was first elected to the Senate in 1986.

Conrad holds a bachelor's degree from Stanford University, and an MBA from George Washington University. He is married to Lucy Calautti, and has a daughter, Jessamyn Conrad.

The award is named for John M. Agrey, a pioneer, innovator, and an advocate for transportation in North Dakota. Early in his career, Agrey worked for the traffic department of the Fargo Chamber of Commerce. While there, John illustrated how important a solid transportation system is to economic development. In 1935 he moved to Bismarck and began working in the traffic department of the North Dakota Public Service Commission where he earned a reputation for working on behalf of farmers. Agrey emphasized how important a low cost and efficient transportation system is for North Dakota's farmers and its entire economy. He worked for the ND PSC until his retirement in 1973. He passed away on December 4, 1975.

UGPTI news release
Oct. 5, 2005

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050