Montana House approves package of bills providing $1.4 billion for public works projects
The Montana House of Representatives has endorsed a package of bills directing $1.4 billion in state spending for public works projects.
Five bills outlining spending on improvements to roads, bridges, water systems and state facilities passed initial votes in the House with near unanimous support. Much of the funding comes from the state’s coal severance tax and some from the federal government.
The bills’ sponsor, Republican Rep. Mike Hopkins of Missoula, highlighted the increase in infrastructure spending over last session amid a budget surplus.
“What’s really important is the individual projects that those dollars are going to fund. It’s a drastic improvement in the amount of work that we’re going to be able to get done,” Hopkins said.
Lawmakers approved an amendment to the package that adds $3.6 million for schools to mitigate lead in drinking fountains. Schools are now required to test for lead, and of those that have tested so far, 74% found high levels of lead in at least one drinking fountain.
The bills will now move on to the state Senate for consideration.