Tester, Baucus secure $3.6 million for northwest Montana

Money will create jobs through projects in Kalispell, Libby, Thompson Falls

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The influential Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $3.6 million for several major projects in Kalispell, Libby and Thompson Falls, senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus announced today.

The funding is part of more than $16 million secured by Tester, a member of the Appropriations Committee, and Baucus in two federal funding bills.  Tester and Baucus said the projects they secured will create jobs, and invest in schools, health care, transportation and education across Montana.

The money will fund the following projects in northwestern Montana:

  • Montana Department of Transportation: $3 million to create jobs by funding various projects along U.S. Highway 93, which is the busiest non-Interstate highway in Montana. Funding will help complete highway construction projects in Montana between Idaho and the Canadian border.
  • Sanders County: $300,000 to help upgrade the historic High Bridge in Thompson Falls.  The funding will pay for safety upgrades including new deck and railing.  When finished, the renovated High Bridge will be open to pedestrians, bikers and certain emergency vehicles.
  • Center for Asbestos-Related Disease (CARD Clinic): $200,000 to help fund a database at the renown Libby clinic.  The database will be available to researchers and will benefit numerous studies of asbestos-related disease.
  • Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC): $100,000 to put more people back to work in the Kalispell area.  The money will help fund FVCC’s Career Opportunities Through Retraining and Education initiative, which trains dislocated and laid off workers for new jobs funded by the recently passed Jobs-Stimulus Bill.  The project will focus on heavy equipment training, diesel mechanics and welding.

“We appreciate the continued support of our congressional delegation in helping us address training needs for our dislocated workers,” said Jane Karas, President of Flathead Valley Community College. “These funds will support our trades programs where we’ve seen the greatest needs for retraining.”

“We are so appreciative of the efforts of the Senators for their continuing support for the people of Libby to deal with the health care needs from asbestos related diseases,”  said Dr. Brad Black, Director of the CARD Clinic.

“These are needed investments that will provide new opportunities and create jobs in northwest Montana,” Tester said.  “These projects will put people to work now while investing in long-term infrastructure upgrades that will pay off for generations to come, which is why I’ll vote for them every step of the way.”

“These are critical transportation and infrastructure projects and this funding will create good-paying jobs now while also investing in our future,” said Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.  “Job training is an important part of getting folks back to work. These projects will help retrain workers and provide new jobs for northwest Montana.” 

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.