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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana's D.C. Delegation Weighs In On Infrastructure Plan

Eric Whitney
Montana Public Radio

Montana's D.C. Delegation Weighs In On Infrastructure Plan President Donald Trump and a dozen Democratic lawmakers have agreed to work together on a $2 trillion dollar infrastructure package. But they put off for later the difficult questions of how to pay for it.

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester, during a media conference call on Tuesday, said the hitch to infrastructure is how you pay for it.

"We need an infrastructure bill," Tester said. "We’ve needed one for 20 years or longer. For not only for highways, broadband, improving our air system, all that stuff--electrical grid, all of that. But the truth is it has to be paid for. I mean, our economy is living off of infrastructure investments, in education investments from a generation ago. It’s time for this generation to step up."

Republican Senator Steve Daines says infrastructure shouldn’t be a highly politicized debate and that the infrastructure system needs to be fixed, including the National Park maintenance backlog.

Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte says an infrastructure deal shouldn’t break the bank, should cut red tape from the permitting process and should empower state and local officials. He wants to see a bipartisan plan that addresses a range of needs, from rebuilding roads and bridges to bringing more reliable broadband to rural communities.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday's meeting between the president and Democrats was “excellent and productive.”

Democratic leadership and the White House say infrastructure funding will be discussed when the two sides meet again in three weeks.

Copyright 2019 Yellowstone Public Radio

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.
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