A bill allowing the state of Montana to borrow $80 million for some big ticket construction projects made it out a Senate committee Friday. It now has to pass out of the full Senate in the coming days or risk dying in the legislative process.
House Bill 652 is lawmakers' latest attempt to overcome a nearly decade’s long failure to fund a large-scale public works plan with state-issued bonds.
Conservatives' preference to pay for that work with cash instead of debt has prevented similar proposals in recent years from reaching the governor’s desk.
The Senate Finance and Claims Committee voted 13-6 this morning to pass the bill onto the floor for debate. When it’s heard there, it must win a two-thirds supermajority to pass back over the House.
House Bill 652 includes more than $21 million for local construction project grants, and also funds local water and wastewater infrastructure.
It also approves funding for capital projects including the renovation of Romney Hall at Montana State University in Bozeman, a new dental clinic at MSU in Great Falls, and a Butte-Silver Bow County Armory for the Department of Military Affairs.