Senate panel advances funding for Kalispell bypass

Measure will help achieve next steps on highway infrastructure project

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee have passed legislation that will help fund the next phase in construction of the Kalispell bypass project, Tester and Senator Max Baucus announced today.

The Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act includes funding to continue work on a route around downtown Kalispell, which will relieve congestion in one of Montana’s fastest growing communities.

The project will help improve safety by eventually rerouting traffic on U.S. Highway 93 around Kalispell to connect to U.S. Highway 2.  The project will expand Highway 93 and add interchanges and roundabouts.  U.S. 93 is the highest volume, non-Interstate highway in Montana.

Kalispell Mayor Tammi Fisher says the funding will keep Montanans employed who are working on the bypass. 

“This money is vitally important for Kalispell because transportation is a big issue for us, especially with the opening of the new Walmart north of town,” Fisher said. “These funds are going to make a big difference to help build a vibrant downtown and we are very appreciative of the efforts of our Senators to secure this money.”

“Putting folks to work with much-needed investments in our transportation infrastructure is exactly the kind of project I’m proud to be fighting for,” Tester said.  “As the Kalispell community keeps growing, we’ve got to make sure that folks have the jobs and the public safety needed to match that growth.”

“The Kalispell Bypass is a win-win for all people who live in and visit the Flathead,” Baucus said.  “This funding means jobs for the community, and it means continued work to make Kalispell a safer and more prosperous place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Under the current legislation, the Montana Department of Transportation would receive at least $600,000 to being the next phase of construction on the bypass.

For a full list of funding for Montana under the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, click HERE.

What is an appropriations bill?
  • A federal appropriations bill funds the federal government.  12 appropriations bills will fund the federal government for the next Fiscal Year.
  • Less than one half of one percent of these appropriations bills consist of congressionally directed funding (also called “earmarks”).  This funding is not additional spending for the federal government, nor does it increase federal deficit.  Rather, it is a set of directions telling the government where it must use existing funds.
  • In the past, appropriations funding had been abused by anonymous requests with little transparency.
  • Since 2007, the process was overhauled to guarantee transparency and fair debate in Congress.
  • All of Tester’s and Baucus’ appropriations requests are online HERE and HERE.