Tester Announces Final Deal on Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation
Senator worked for months with Republicans, Democrats, and the President to secure historic agreement that will boost Montana’s economy
After weeks of negotiations with the White House and a bipartisan group of nine other Senators, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that he had secured a deal on historic infrastructure legislation that would create good-paying jobs and boost Montana’s economy by making urgently-needed investments in Montana’s roads, bridges, broadband, water, and more.
“I’m pleased to announce that we have reached a bipartisan deal on a historic bill that will upgrade Montana’s aging infrastructure, create-good paying jobs, and help us maintain our competitive edge over China,” said Tester. “Montanans have been living off our parents’ infrastructure for decades, and this package will finally provide critical investments in roads, bridges, broadband, airports, and water systems across our state that will boost our economy for years to come. Everywhere I go in Montana, I hear from folks who tell me they expect their elected leaders to work across the aisle to deliver real, lasting results for our state and our economy. This bipartisan legislation will do that, and I’m proud to have worked with Republicans, Democrats, and the President to get it done.”
Tester secured a number of wins for Montana in the legislation, including:
- $2.5 billion to complete all authorized Indian water rights settlements, including settlements for the Blackfeet, Crow, and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
- $1 billion to complete all authorized rural water projects through the Bureau of Reclamation, including Fort Peck/Dry Prairie, Rocky Boys/North Central, and Musselshell-Judith rural water systems.
- Up to $100 million for rehabilitating the Milk River Project.
- Clarifies that American Rescue Plan Act state and local fiscal recovery funds may be used towards the state or federal cost share to rehabilitate Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure.
- $3.5 billion for Indian Health Service Sanitation Construction program, providing water, sewage, and sanitation services to Tribal households.
- $11.2 billion in grants for states and Tribes to reclaim abandoned mine lands.
- $7 billion for Army Corps of Engineers infrastructure priorities to improve flood mitigation
- $350 million of that for Army Corps CAP funding (which includes Section 205 levee projects) - Senator Tester helped secure a $100 million increase for the CAP program
- $3.5 billion for the Federal Emergency and Management Agency Flood Mitigation Assistance program
- $2.2 billion for the Aging Infrastructure Account, including to the Bureau of Reclamation for water infrastructure projects across the West that are in need of major upgrades or replacement
- $500 million for the Western Area Power Administration’s power purchase and transmission activities
- Tester-Moran bill to extend the Internal Revenue Service tax filing deadlines in Fire Management Assistance Grant areas after significant fires
- $3.37 billion for reducing wildfire risk, including hazardous fuels treatments, wildland firefighter salaries, fire research, and grants to communities to reduce wildfire risks
- A portion of the Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act of 2021, which cuts burdensome hours of service requirements that can prevent ag and livestock haulers from doing their jobs safely, and gives them the flexibility to ensure more of Montana's world-class products can make it to market.
- DRIVE Safe Act, which creates a pilot program that lifts federal regulations that prevent Montana truck drivers under 21 years of age from transporting goods across state lines and establishes a new training initiative for 18 to 20-year-old truck drivers.
- Right Track Act & Blocked Railroad Crossing Bill, which improve safety at rural train crossings and addresses instances of blocked highway-railroad crossings across the U.S.
- $15 million to study Amtrak-long distance passenger rail travel, providing funding for groups working to increase access to long-distance passenger rail travel like the Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Working Group.
Tester will provide additional details about the legislation as they become available. The Senate will take its first procedural vote on the legislation tonight.
Last month, Tester and the bipartisan group of nine other Senators went to the White House to announce they had reached an agreement on the framework of a historic, bipartisan infrastructure package after months of negotiations.