Bureau of Reclamation Announces First Round of Milk River Project Funding Secured by Tester in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Senator included up to $100 million for the project in the legislation

The Bureau of Reclamation today announced the first round of funding for the Milk River Project, which U.S. Senator Jon Tester secured up to $100 million for in his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, now law.

“I’m proud to announce the first round of funding for the Milk River Project from our infrastructure bill is now on its way to the communities that have needed this critical irrigation upgrade for decades,” said Tester. “With these dollars finally flowing to the farms, towns, and Tribes in Northern Montana that need them, shovels can start hitting the dirt to modernize the water infrastructure our state needs to keep our economy on its feet, and I’ll keep pushing Reclamation and the Biden Administration to ensure these resources continue heading to the right place.”

The first round of funding will be $2.5 million to be used for planning and project design in 2022.

The announcement follows Tester’s conversation last month with Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, where he urged the agency to make the St. Mary’s diversion a top priority and get the resources out the door as quickly as possible.

Tester directly negotiated and wrote the provision of his legislation that will provide up to $100 million to rehabilitate the Milk River Project. He worked across the aisle for months to negotiate his bipartisan package with a group of five Republicans, four Democrats, and the White House, and he was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation to vote for it. Tester’s law is projected to create more than 800,000 American jobs and lower costs for businesses by making targeted investments that will strengthen our nation without raising taxes on working families.

Tester secured significant wins for Montana in the legislation, including $2.82 billion for Montana’s roads, highways and bridges; $2.5 billion to complete all authorized Indian water rights settlements; $1 billion to complete all authorized rural water projects through the Bureau of Reclamation; $42.45 billion for broadband deployment to low-connectivity areas across the country; and $3.37 billion to reduce wildfire risk nationwide, among others. Tester also worked to ensure that all iron, steel, and construction materials used for these projects must be made in America.