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Bill to boost infrastructure sailing through Montana Legislature

Posted at 10:05 AM, Feb 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 10:53:51-05

HELENA – A bill meant to pave the way for future state spending on infrastructure projects is sailing through the Legislature. But leaders say they’re still working on the immediate plans for this session.

The Montana House voted 100-to-0 Wednesday for the bill which is designed to map out how the state spends money on building projects and other infrastructure.

That spending has been a point of conflict in recent sessions, as a minority block of conservative Republicans has killed big infrastructure bonding bills.

Representative Eric Moore (R-Miles City) says his bill should help avoid those battles in the future. Yet he added that the details for an infrastructure spending package this session are still being negotiated.

Montana Legislature
The Montana House voted unanimously for a bill which is designed to map out how the state spends money on building projects and other infrastructure. (MTN News photo)

He predicts the measure will include between $50 million and $100 million of bonded debt, quite a bit less than the $160 million proposed by Governor Steve Bullock.

But House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner (D-Great Falls) says he’s optimistic.

“We came into this session saying we need to get infrastructure accomplished, we need to have a plan moving forward. As the speaker said, I’m glad that he and I both agree on that,” Schreiner said.

“We see this as a step one of a process to make sure that we’re taking care of the people of Montana, getting people to work putting shovels in ground and doing good work.”

The bill will likely be introduced in the next few weeks.