A roughly $80 million infrastructure bonding package is moving forward in the Montana House and faces a final vote in the coming days.
The amended bill passed on a 68-32 vote with the Republican Speaker of the House, Majority Leader and other conservatives opposing it.
If all sides hold, that will give House Bill 652 just over the supermajority of support required by the Montana Constitution to create new state debt.
Major infrastructure bonding bills have failed to overcome this vote hurdle in recent legislative sessions as conservatives declined to pay for certain projects with general obligations bonds.
“I see on bonding if we’re going to borrow money I think it’s for critical infrastructure. And Romney Hall does not meet, in my mind, the criteria for that,” says Rep. Kerry White, R-Bozeman.
Funding for the renovation at Romney Hall at Montana State University in Bozeman is included in House Bill 652.
However an amendment on the House floor Wednesday stripped $9 million in bonding for the project and replaced it with cash. Those bonding dollars were moved over to pay for K-12 school and local water and wastewater projects.
If House Bill 652 clears its final vote expected this week, it must also win two-thirds support in the Senate.