Approximately $2.82 Billion for Montana Roads and Highways in Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, Tester Announces
Legislation also includes roughly $144 million for Montana airports, $225 million for Montana bridges
Continuing his work on the historic, bipartisan infrastructure package he negotiated with four Democrats, five Republicans, and the White House, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that the legislation would provide approximately $2.82 billion for Montana roads and highways over the next five years. It would also provide roughly $225 million to repair and upgrade Montana’s bridges and $144 million for Montana airports.
“When I started negotiating this legislation with my colleagues, I told them that Montana’s roads and highways are crumbling and that repairing them was one of my top priorities,” said Tester. “I’m proud to announce that this legislation will do that and more by investing in communities in our state and across rural America. It will create good-paying jobs, help us maintain our competitive edge over China, and upgrade our bridges, airports, water systems, and high-speed internet-all without raising taxes.”
Tester secured a number of wins for Montana in the legislation, including:
- $304 billion over five years for the Highway Trust Fund, which includes roughly $2.82 billion for Montana highways.
- Montana will also receive approximately $225 million in additional funding for a new bridge initiative to replace and repair bridges in poor condition.
- Roughly $164 million for Montana over five years to bolster public transit infrastructure, a roughly 30 percent increase
- The portion of bus funds set aside for rural areas was increased.
- Funds to address highway safety and motor carrier safety were significantly increased, enabling Montana to save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.
- Roughly $144 million for Montana airports
- $2.5 billion to complete all authorized Indian water rights settlements, including settlements for Montana Tribes.
- $1 billion to complete all authorized rural water projects through the Bureau of Reclamation, including Fort Peck/Dry Prairie, Rocky Boys/North Central, and Musselshell-Judith rural water systems.
- Approximately $138 million for Rocky Boys/North Central
- Approximately $56 million for Musselshell-Judith
- Approximately $17 million for Fort Peck/Dry Prairie
- Up to $100 million for rehabilitating the Milk River Project.
- Clarifies that American Rescue Plan state and local fiscal recovery funds may be used towards the state or federal cost share to rehabilitate Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure.
- $3.5 billion for Indian Health Service Sanitation Construction program, filling all outstanding needs in the program nationwide.
- This includes roughly $40 million in water, sewage, and sanitation projects for the Blackfeet Tribe.
- $11.2 billion in grants for states and Tribes to reclaim abandoned mine lands. Montana is expected to receive at least $20 million, over six times the state’s annual federal Abandoned Mine Land distribution.
- $42.45 billion grant program for broadband deployment to areas of the country lacking access to internet service. The program will be distributed in the following manner:
- $4.2 billion of which is set aside for high-cost, geographically-challenged areas that are especially difficult and expensive to deploy broadband infrastructure to.
- $100 million allocation to each state distributed during the planning and proposal stage. Up to $5 million in funding to support state broadband office activities including planning, coordination, and grant administration.
- Additional funding allocated to each state using a formula based on that state’s total unserved population.
- $2 billion for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, which will help Tribal entities with broadband deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth, and distance learning.
- $2 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, which provide loans and grants to fund broadband service deployment and maintenance in rural areas.
- $14.2 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB). As of July, 2021, 5,498 households in Montana have enrolled in this program, which helps people pay their internet bills.
- Includes additional consumer protection provisions that safeguard against upselling and price-gouging.
- Households participating in EBB can apply the benefit to any internet service plan of their choosing.
- Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Development Act, which will help address the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry to ramp up the human resources necessary in order to deploy broadband infrastructure efficiently and effectively.
- $3.85 billion for Land Ports of Entry to modernize and secure the Northern and Southern border.
- Tester-Moran bill to extend the IRS tax filing deadlines in Fire Management Assistance Grants for areas after significant fires
- $3.37 billion for reducing wildfire risk, including:
- $500 million for Forest Service Community Defense Grants to support community-led efforts to improve community wildfire readiness, planning actions, and removing vegetation.
- $500 million for prescribed fires to reduce fuel loads and large fire risk.
- $500 million to do mechanical thinning and timber harvest to promote fire-resilient stands
- $500 million to develop fire control points, including through the creation of fuelbreaks
- $200 million to remove flammable vegetation for the creation of biochar or innovative woodproducts, with a note for agencies to consider working with youth and conservation corps, and engage with Tribes and veterans.
- $200 million for post-fire restoration activities
- $100 million for Interior and Forest Service to conduct staff training and planning work to support wildland fire and vegetation treatment operations
- $100 million for Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program projects
- $20 million for the Joint Fire Science program (which supports research at UM and MSU)
- Includes the bipartisan REPLANT Act freeing up additional Forest Service funding for reforestation activities, and provides $450 million to rehabilitate and restore burned areas.
Resiliency (Flood, Drought)
- $7 billion for Army Corps of Engineers infrastructure priorities to improve flood mitigation
- $350 million of that for Army Corps CAP funding which includes Section 205 levee projects.
- Senator Tester also secured a $100 million increase for the CAP program
- $3.5 billion for FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance program
- $1 billion for the FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program. This is a pre-disaster mitigation program, supporting states, local communities, tribes and territories undertaking hazard mitigation projects to reduce the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards.
- $2.2 billion for the Aging Infrastructure Account, including to The Bureau of Reclamation for water infrastructure projects across the West that are in need of major upgrades or replacement
- $500 million for the Western Area Power Administration’s power purchase and transmission activities.
Tester will continue to provide additional details about the legislation as they become available.
This week, Senator Tester took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to quickly pass the bipartisan package. And last month, after months of negotiations, Tester and the bipartisan group of nine other Senators went to the White House to announce they had reached an agreement on the framework of a historic, bipartisan infrastructure package to create good-paying jobs by making urgently-needed investments in Montana’s roads, bridges, broadband, water, and more.