The Montana Senate today unanimously supported a plan that political leaders are calling a breakthrough after years of debate on how to fund major state infrastructure projects.
On a 50-0 vote the Senate gave initial approval to the plan, which caps state bonding for future public works projects and lays out new rules for how that money is spent.
Recent Montana legislative sessions have ended without an agreement on bonding to fund certain infrastructure projects in the state, despite long debates over the issue.
However, House Bill 553 is winning over even the largest critics of using state debt for public construction.
Senate President Scott Sales is a Republican from Bozeman.
“I’ve never voted for bonding, that I know of, but this bill does provide the framework to make this process fair and more objective,” Sales says.
The policy must still pass a final vote in the Senate. It has already passed the House with unanimous support.
A separate bill, including nearly $80 million in general obligation bonds to fund state infrastructure, is expected soon in the Senate for a full debate and can only pass with supermajority approval. That bill narrowly passed in the House.