Tester Fights to Extend Critical Support for Rural Montana Counties

Senator: Secure Rural Schools critical for essential services in Montana communities

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is calling for the extension of a critical program that provides resources for essential services like law enforcement, emergency response, roads, and education in rural counties across Montana.

Tester is sponsoring a bipartisan bill to extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) for the next two years. Last year, after Tester successfully revived SRS, the funding provided more than $16 million for critical services in counties across Montana.

“Montanans in rural counties know all too well the consequences for essential services if we let SRS funding expire,” Tester said. “I’m not going to let that happen again—and I’ll be fighting to ensure we’ve got the tools to pave our roads, educate our kids, and respond to emergencies so we can keep our communities thriving.”

Last year, Tester successfully spearheaded the effort to revive SRS after Congress let it expire, and he was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation who voted for it. Congress originally passed SRS in 2000 to compensate forested counties for lost revenue due to declining timber production on federal lands, and it provides resources to more than two dozen Montana counties to help fund schools, roads, jails, and other essential services.

2018 SRS payments for Montana counties can be found HERE.