Tester Secures Millions for Montana’s Transportation Infrastructure, Including Airports & Amtrak
Bill will boost state’s Airport Improvement Program and Amtrak funding Senator secures exemption for livestock haulers from Electronic Logging Device requirements
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured millions for Montana’s transportation infrastructure priorities as part of the bipartisan 2020 Transportation and Housing Appropriations bill. The legislation includes a large boost in funding for Amtrak, as well as $3.8 billion for Airport Improvement Program grants.
“In a rural state like Montana, our airports, rail, and highway systems serve as vital links for our economy,” Tester said. “If we don’t keep investing in those systems, we’ll never see the dividends. This bill puts gas in the tank so we can continue building up our airports, shoring up our rail system along the Hi-Line, and giving our farmers and ranchers the tools to get products to market—keeping the engines of our economy humming.”
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester is responsible for writing the 12 bills that fund the federal government each year.
Among the Montana provisions Tester successfully included in the 2020 Transportation and Housing & Urban Development Appropriations bill are:
- $3.8 billion for Airport Improvement Program grants
- $10 million to maintain funding for the Small Community Air Service Development Program
- $5 million to address pilot and aviation maintenance workforce shortages
- Boosts funding for Amtrak’s Empire Builder and restores ticket agents in Shelby and Havre
- $1 billion for the BUILD grant program
- Fully funds University Transportation Centers (UTCs), including Montana State University’s consortium of UTCs on improving rural mobility
Electronic Logging Devices
- Exempts livestock haulers from ELD hours of service requirements through FY20
Tester has worked tirelessly to bring more business to Montana’s airports. This summer he announced more than $20 million to upgrade Montana’s airports through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP). He was also the only member of Montana’s delegation to vote for the bipartisan budget agreement that provided this funding through the AIP program.
Tester has also fought to secure resources for Amtrak in Montana and repeatedly condemned the decision to close rural ticket offices after more than 400 northern Montana residents signed a petition calling for their restoration. Many Montanans do not have access to a single broadband provider, making it unnecessarily difficult for them to take the train as Amtrak moves towards their goal of an online-only ticket purchase system.
Tester has been a leader in calling for a fix to Electronic Logging Device rules that unfairly impact livestock haulers. To address the issue, he introduced the bipartisan Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act the last two Congresses and fought to exempt livestock haulers from ELD requirements until the end of the fiscal year during this year’s budget negotiations.