Tester, Baucus secure nearly $2 million for Missoula

Funding will improve health care, housing and child safety

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The influential Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to set aside nearly $2 million for better health care and transportation in Helena 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 Missoula 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 will fund the following projects in the Missoula area:

  • Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks: $750,000 to help build a pedestrian trail and bridge for a new public park at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers—the former site of Milltown Dam.
  • homeWORD: $500,000 to help the Missoula organization build affordable housing for working families.  This project will create jobs and economic growth in the Missoula area.
  • Watson Children’s Shelter: $250,000 to enable Missoula’s Watson Children's Shelter to build a second, significantly larger facility that will provide shelter for an estimated 150 children every year. 
  • Community Medical Center: $150,000 to help fund new equipment for the hospital’s Women and Infant Care Center.  The money will allow Community Medical Center to buy new, state-of-the-art infant warmers, replace ventilators and IV pumps, and to fund a new security system to protect patients.
  • St. Patrick’s Hospital: $150,000 to help create a permanent and secure record system that will improve health care by allowing the hospital to share records with doctors, other hospitals and clinics throughout the region.  The new system will allow health care providers to communicate with other professionals and patients in real-time.
  • The University of Montana: $100,000 to help fund UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, whose mission is to promote greater understanding of public policy issues and public service.

“This news could not have arrived at a better time, as we broke ground on the new shelter on Tuesday,” said Fran M. Albrecht, Executive Director of Watson Children’s Shelter.  “Sadly, we could not accept six children from Western Montana this week alone because we have a full house, further underscoring the critical need for expansion to serve the abused and neglected children who need us.”

“These are smart investments that will improve health care, housing and child safety in Missoula,” Tester said.  “And all of it will create jobs and rebuild Montana’s economy.  These are exactly the kinds of projects I’m proud to support, and I’ll vote for them every step of the way.”

“These projects support critical infrastructure and this funding will put people to work now,” said Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. “Upgrading and improving health systems is an important investment for the people of the Garden City.  The addition of more affordable housing and expanded room at the children’s shelter will ensure those in need of assistance are not forgotten.”

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.