Tester helps secure $20 million for rural electric infrastructure

Senator lights up rural Montana with USDA investments

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester is lighting up rural America by helping secure $20 million to upgrade rural electricity infrastructure in central and eastern Montana.

“Without these types of investments from USDA, many rural communities in Montana could not power their homes, schools or small businesses,” Tester said. “We can’t keep rural America connected if we do not have reliable access to electricity.”

Tester, a member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, has long supported these investments.

The $20 million is being administered through USDA Rural Development’s Electric Program, which makes loans to non-profit cooperative associations for electric infrastructure upgrades.

Fergus Electric Co-op in Lewistown will receive $10 million to upgrade 156 miles of transmission and distribution lines in central Montana.

Goldenwest Electric Co-op in Wibaux will receive $10 million to upgrade 62 miles of transmission and distribution lines in eastern Montana.

The Senator yesterday highlighted the dire need to increase investment in broadband, water, and wastewater facilities in rural communities to boost business opportunities and reverse the population decline in rural America during a committee hearing.

Tester last week launched his #ConnectMT initiative with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to connect folks online, on the phone and on broadcast air.