Tester: Montana needs a long-term highway bill

Senator promotes ideas from his Montana transportation roundtable

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – After hearing directly from Montanans about the current condition of the state’s transportation infrastructure, Senator Jon Tester is urging his fellow senators to quickly pass a long-term highway bill.

Tester last month held a transportation infrastructure roundtable in Helena where stakeholders from agriculture and tourism, small business owners, and state highway officials told him how important investments in transportation infrastructure are for Montana’s economy.

Tester relayed what he heard to Environment and Public Works (EPW) Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). The EPW Committee, along with Tester’s Banking Committee, oversees most federal transportation policy.

“Montana faces significant infrastructure deficiencies due to limited resources, aging road systems and recent uncertainty in highway funding,” Tester wrote. “Montanans made it abundantly clear at my transportation roundtable that they expect Congress to pass a multi-year highway bill to help grow our economy and to help ensure that we can continue to compete on a global scale.”

Montana has nearly 75,000 miles of public roads used to ship roughly $60 billion in goods each year. In addition, nearly 11 million people visited the state last year and spent around $4 billion. Unfortunately, two-thirds of urban roads and over 40 percent of major rural roads are in need of repair. One in five bridges in Montana need to be replaced.

Tester’s letter to EPW Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Boxer is available online HERE.