During a visit to Missoula’s Felco Industries today, US Senator Jon Tester spoke with local business and community leaders about how his two-party infrastructure program will create well-paying jobs, reduce costs for Montana families and will grow the state’s economy. Tester’s bipartisan infrastructure legislation was enacted by President Joe Biden on November 15.
Tester was the only member of the Montana congressional delegation to vote for the legislation.
The tester was joined at the event by Aaron Kellum and Shawn Pabst of Felco Industries, Missoula Mayor John Engen and WGM Group CEO Melissa Matassa-Stone.
“My bipartisan infrastructure legislation will make long overdue investments in our state’s aging infrastructure and help create well-paying jobs and lower costs for families in Missoula,” said Tester. “I am proud to have worked with Republicans and Democrats to negotiate this package that will improve aging roads and bridges, increase high-speed Internet access, and ensure people have reliable access to clean drinking water. This is great news for Montana, and it will help Missoula’s economy grow for decades to come.
Tester worked across the aisle for months negotiating this deal with a group of five Republicans, four Democrats and the White House, and he was the only member of the Montana congressional delegation to vote for it. The law of the tester should create more than 800,000 American jobs and lower costs for business by making targeted investments that will strengthen our nation without raising taxes for working families.
As the lead author of the bill, Tester made sure that the legislation did not increase taxes. He made significant gains for Montana in legislation, including $ 2.82 billion for Montana roads, highways, and bridges; up to $ 100 million for the Milk River project and $ 1 billion to complete all rural water supply projects authorized through the Bureau of Reclamation; $ 42.45 billion for the deployment of broadband in low connectivity areas across the country; and $ 3.37 billion to reduce the risk of forest fires nationwide, among others. Tester also worked to ensure that all iron, steel, and building materials used for these projects must be made in America.
A list of the provisions of the legislation is available below.
- About $ 2.82 billion for highways in Montana.
- Montana will also receive about $ 225 million in additional funding for a new bridge initiative to replace and repair decaying bridges.
- About $ 164 million for Montana over five years to strengthen transit infrastructure, an increase of about 30%.
- The share of funds earmarked for buses for rural areas has been increased.
- Funding for road safety and motor carrier safety has been significantly increased, allowing Montana to save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.
- About $ 144 million for Montana airports.
- A part of the Agricultural Transporters and Livestock Safety Act, 2021 (HAULS), which reduces tedious hours of service that can prevent agricultural and livestock hauliers from doing their jobs safely, and gives them the flexibility to ensure that more of Montana’s world-class products can be put on the market.
- Tester DRIVE Safe Act, which creates a pilot program that lifts federal regulations that prevent Montana truck drivers under the age of 21 from transporting goods across states and establishes a new training initiative for truck drivers ages 18 to 20.
- Tester Right Track Act and Blocked Level Crossings Bill, which improve safety at rural train crossings and address cases of blocked highway-to-track crossings across the US $ 15 million to study Amtrak’s long-distance rail travel. This includes funding and authorizing the formation of working groups, such as the Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Working Group, to study and advocate for increased access to long-distance passenger rail transport.
- $ 1 billion to complete all rural water supply projects authorized through the Bureau of Reclamation, including the rural water systems of Fort Peck / Dry Prairie, Rocky Boys / North Central and Musselshell-Judith.
- About $ 198 million for Rocky Boys / North Central.
- Around $ 56 million for Musselshell-Judith.
- About $ 17 million for Fort Peck / Dry Prairie.
- Up to $ 100 million for the rehabilitation of the Milk River project.
- $ 2.5 billion to complete all authorized Indian water rights settlements, including settlements for Montana tribes.
- Clarifies that state and local tax recovery funds from the US Rescue Plan can be used for the state or federal government’s share of costs to rehabilitate the water infrastructure of the Bureau of Reclamation. $ 3.5 billion for the Indian Health Services Sanitation Construction Program, meeting all outstanding program needs nationwide.
- This includes around $ 40 million in water, sewer and sanitation projects for the Blackfeet tribe.
- $ 11.2 billion in grants to states and tribes to reclaim abandoned mining lands. Montana is expected to receive at least $ 20 million, more than six times the annual federal distribution of the state’s abandoned mining land.
- Grant program of $ 42.45 billion for the deployment of broadband in regions of the country without access to Internet service. The program will be distributed as follows:
- Of which $ 4.2 billion is earmarked for high cost and geographically difficult areas in which it is particularly difficult and expensive to deploy broadband infrastructure.
- A minimum allocation of $ 100 million to each state distributed during the planning and proposal phase. Up to $ 5 million in funding to support state broadband office activities, including grant planning, coordination and administration.
- Additional funding allocated to each state using a formula based on that state’s total unserved population.
- $ 2 billion for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity program, which will help tribal entities deploy broadband, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth and distance learning.
- $ 2 billion to programs of the United States Department of Agriculture, which provide loans and grants to finance the deployment and maintenance of broadband services in rural areas.
- $ 14.2 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which builds on the current Broadband Emergency Benefit (EBB) program by expanding eligibility and including consumer protection safeguards for prevent upselling. As of September 27, 2021, 9,701 Montana households have signed up for this program to get help with their Internet bills.
- Includes additional consumer protection provisions that protect against digital redlining and rising prices.
- Senator Tester fought to ensure that participating households could apply the benefit to any Internet service plan they chose.
- The Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Development Act, which will help meet the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry to increase the human resources required to deploy broadband infrastructure effectively and efficiently.
- $ 3.85 billion for land ports of entry to modernize and secure the northern and southern border.
- Test-Moran bill to extend IRS tax reporting deadlines in fire management assistance grants for areas after major fires.
- $ 3.37 billion to reduce the risk of forest fires, including:
- $ 500 million for Forest Service Community Defense Grants to support community efforts to improve community forest fire preparedness, action planning and vegetation removal.
- $ 500 million for prescribed burns to reduce fuel loads and major fire hazards.
- $ 500 million for mechanical thinning and timber harvesting to promote fire-resistant stands.
- $ 500 million to develop fire control posts, in particular through the creation of firewalls.
- $ 200 million to remove flammable vegetation for the creation of biochar or innovative wood products, with a note for agencies to consider working with youth and conservation bodies, and engage with tribes and elders fighters. $ 200 million for post-fire restoration activities.
- $ 100 million for Interior and Forestry Department for staff training and planning work to support forest fire and vegetation treatment operations.
- $ 100 million for Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program projects.
- $ 20 million for the Joint Fire Science program (which supports research at UM and MSU).
- Includes the bipartite REPLANT law freeing up additional Forest Service funds for reforestation activities, and providing $ 450 million to rehabilitate and restore burnt areas.
Resilience (floods, drought)
- $ 7 billion for Army Corps of Engineers infrastructure priorities to improve flood mitigation.
- $ 350 million of this amount for Army Corps CAP funding, which includes Section 205 seawall projects. Senator Tester secured a $ 100 million increase for the CAP program and was awarded a provision allowing the Army Corps to waive cost-sharing requirements for economically disadvantaged communities.
- $ 3.5 billion for FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Program.
- $ 1 billion for the FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. This is a pre-disaster mitigation program, which supports states, local communities, tribes and territories that undertake risk mitigation projects to reduce the risks they face in the event of disasters. and natural disasters.
- $ 2.2 billion on behalf of aging infrastructure, including the Bureau of Reclamation for water infrastructure projects in the West that require major upgrades or replacement.
- $ 500 million for the Western Area Power Administration’s power purchasing and transmission activities.