Montana Public Radio

Bullock Pushes Legislature To Pass Infrastructure Package

Jan 22, 2019

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is taking one more shot at passing an infrastructure package. 

“This $294 million investment is accomplished through a responsible mix of cash and bonds,” says Tom Livers, the governor's budget director.

Bullock urged the Republican-led Legislature to pass the package that includes $160 million in bonds for capital projects, such as renovating Montana State University's Romney Hall and the Montana Historical Society.

In an attempt to sweeten the package for reluctant Republicans, Bullock included $44 million for projects in Eastern Montana communities that have been affected by oil, gas and coal development.

“A majority of the funding goes to local projects in rural and urban communities across Montana,” Livers says.

A budget panel is hearing the bonding bill Tuesday and Wednesday.

Several projects are back in the bill after failing to pass over the three legislative sessions since Bullock took office. Some Republican lawmakers have rejected the idea of putting the state in debt to pay for infrastructure, while others are reluctant to pay for state buildings over what they call rural Montana's critical infrastructure needs.

Bullock says lawmakers should work with him, "to put shovels to dirt."