Senate panel approves more than $16 million for Montana projects

Baucus, Tester included money to improve transportation, housing, economic development

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to set aside more than $16 million in federal funding for transportation, housing and economic development projects across Montana, Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today.

Baucus and Tester worked together to include the funding in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill.

The bill must pass several more hurdles before the funding is final, but both Baucus and Tester say today's decision is a positive first step.

The Senate's funding measure includes the following projects requested by Baucus and Tester:

    • $5 million to help expand Shiloh Road, paving the way to positive growth in the Magic City. 
    • $325,000 for the Big Sky Economic Development Corporation to help jumpstart new development in the East Billings Redevelopment Project—between Downtown Billings and Metra Park. 
    • $500,000 to help the City of Billings safely demolish and clean up the site of the former Naval Reserve Center near North Park.
    • $3 million to help pave a section of Highway 323 between Ekalaka and Alzada.
    • $1 million for the Great Falls Development Authority to extend water and sewer services along Black Eagle Road, which will spur business growth in the Electric City. 
    • $750,000 for the Chippewa Cree Tribe to move surplus houses from Malmstrom Air Force Base to the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
  • HELENA: 
    • $1 million to help complete the ExplorationWorks science museum, which will bring new jobs and economic growth to the Queen City.
    • $3 million to help build the Kalispell Bypass, which will eventually divert dangerous traffic on Highway 93 around downtown Kalispell.
    • $1 million to help remodel a commercial building for Burns Street Square, a new affordable housing neighborhood in Missoula.
    • $520,000 for the Montana Department of Commerce to boost economic development and entrepreneurship in Indian Country and rural Montana

"From new highways to new housing to new opportunities for growth, these projects will all make Montana a better place to live and work," Baucus said.  "Jon and I fought hard to get these projects on the list because they will bring good-paying jobs and better business to our state."

"All of these projects are smart investments in our future because they help build and improve critical infrastructure across Montana," Tester said.  "Max and I worked closely with the Appropriations Committee to include funding for these projects, and we'll work together with all of our colleagues as this measure moves through Congress."

Baucus' and Tester's funding requests now go to the full Senate for approval. The bill must also pass the U.S. House of Representatives before going to the White House for the President's signature.