Tester, Baucus secure nearly $2 million for Billings

Senators secure funding for area jobs, health care, education, drinking water

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The influential Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to set aside nearly $2 million for better health care, education and secure drinking water in Billings at the request of Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus

Tester and his colleagues on the Appropriations Committee today approved the $1.9 million for the Billings projects as part of two bills that will fund the federal government next year.

The funding is part of more than $16 million secured by Tester and Baucus in the measures to create jobs, and invest in schools, health care, transportation and education across Montana.

The money approved today will fund the following projects in Billings:

  • City of Billings: $1 million to improve public safety by investing in an emergency power backup system for the City’s water treatment plant.  This funding will lower the risk of a dangerous water shortage during drought or emergency power outages.
  • St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation: $350,000 to improve the region’s only pediatric intensive care unit, at St. Vincent Healthcare.  This project will improve health care and save money by cutting the cost of transporting young patients to out-of-state facilities.
  • Billings Clinic: $250,000 to improve health care by expanding the hospital’s information system, diabetes center, clinical translation research and residency programs.
  • Montana State University-Billings: $100,000 to improve the college’s South-central Montana Workforce Incubation and Retention Center, which will improve Montana’s economy by providing job training through computer labs and distance learning.
  • Youth Dynamics: $100,000 to develop an intense, in-house workforce training initiative.  Youth Dynamics will focus on recruiting people who have roots in Montana communities and provide job training, education, orientation, mentoring and supervision.
  • Billings Public Schools: $100,000 to expand classwork and training at the school district’s Career Center.  The project will link high school coursework with specific skilled construction and craft trade training programs.

“We are deeply appreciative of Senator Tester’s and  Senator Baucus’ efforts to assist our school district with financial resources,” said Jack Copps, Superintendent of Billings Public Schools. “The Senators understand the importance this construction trades program has for our community.”

“Senators Tester and Baucus understand the unique challenges in caring for some of the most fragile patients in rural Montana, our young children,” said David Irion, Executive Director of the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation. “By supporting the Montana Pediatric Project’s continued development, our congressional delegation, since October 1, 2008, helped about 100 children avoid transports to out of state hospitals allowing them to heal at home with great doctors and their families at their side. This investment will further the development of St. Vincent Children’s Healthcare. We thank our Senators for this investment in pediatric critical care.”

“These are smart investments that will create jobs, improve education and expand health care in Billings,” Tester said.  “These projects will go a long way in rebuilding Montana’s economy, and I’ll vote for them every step of the way.”

“This funding will create good-paying jobs in the Magic City,” said Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.  “They are important projects that will make Billings a better place to live, work and raise a family, and they will pay off for generations.”

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill and the Labor, Health & Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill now go to the full Senate for approval.  Similar measures have already passed the U.S. House of Representatives.