Montana Right Now: Senator Tester: "Montana did not get left out of this one," following infrastructure vote

by Bradley Warren

For the last several weeks United States Senator John Tester of Montana has made headlines for his involvement in the trillion-dollar infrastructure deal.

The package passed the Senate and is now heading to the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Tester was instrumental in bringing together Democrats and Republicans to support this legislation.

The bill itself will bring millions of dollars into the state of Montana for infrastructure. The package includes $550 billion in new federal spending over five years.

Senator Tester spoke to Wake Up Montana’s Bradley Warren late Tuesday evening from his office in D.C. while the Senate was taking part in vote-a-rama.

“The fact is this is a significant investment, the biggest ever, non-emergency investment in infrastructure in this country’s history,” Tester said from his D.C. office. “The jobs it’s going to create and the economic growth it’s going to create for the country is going to be pretty impressive.”

Some of the major elements of this bill that will be seen directly in Montana are funding for airports, railroad travel, and massive dollars for highway improvements.

Approximately $2.82 billion will go for Montana highways, $144 million for Montana airports, and $15 million to study Amtrak long-distance passenger rail travel.

“For a state like Montana, it’s a rural state, oftentimes rural states get left out, they did not get left out of this one,” Tester said, “there’s plenty of money for roads and bridges… and broadband infrastructure….water infrastructure, so I think it’s good news for Montana.”

The senator explained that this will create jobs by way of people building highways, updating water systems, and broadband but that it also will create long-term maintenance positions.

Additionally, Senator Tester said this infrastructure creates the ability to sell Montana to the business and in part creates more jobs in the treasure state.

If the broadband infrastructure is there and the ability to move manufactured products is there, more businesses will open up in Montana and create more jobs.

Not all members of the Montana congressional delegation were in support of the package, U.S. Senator Steve Daines voted against the legislation.

“Montanans were told and promised that this massive, 2,700-page bill would not increase the debt. Unfortunately…. it increases it by $256 billion,” Daines said via release, “What’s worse, Senator Tester, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi will now turn right around and pass another whopping $3.5 trillion in their reckless tax and spend spree bill, filled with tax increases that will hurt Montana families, farmers and ranchers.”

We asked Senator Tester about his vote and Senator Daines statement the senator said it’s easy to take a sliver of this bill and vote against it but overall it’s good for the country.

“If you look at this bill in total it does not raise taxes, [and] does not add to the national debt, it’s a very serious investment in traditional infrastructure,” Tester said, “The truth is we needed investment in infrastructure in this country.”

The senator explained that there still is a lot of work to do and that he’s here for the long haul- going onto say that every administration Democrat or Republican that he’s worked under has talked about infrastructure and he’s proud to have been a part of passing this package.

Senator Tester said he has spoken to the President regarding the passing of this in the Senate.

The bipartisan package passed 69 to 30.