Montana governor proposes $300M for public works projects
Spending covers everything from water projects to university facilities
Public works projects in Montana will get much-needed attention if Gov. Steve Bullock’s proposed 2016-2017 fiscal year budget passes. His proposal, which he recommends to be paid for with issue of debt for two-thirds of the funds and one-third coming from cash, will go before the State Legislature next year.
“Our businesses and workers require a reliable infrastructure that allows them to build their communities, keep their businesses operating and get their products to market,” Bullock said. The governor noted that the money sought would mean improved water, sewer and roads throughout the state. It also includes $45 million for eastern Montana communities affected by oil and gas development and millions of dollars’ worth of building and renovation projects at state-supported universities.
Among the proposed university projects are $2.7 million to renovate the library at Montana State University (MSU) Billings, $28 million for remodeling Romney Hall at MSU Bozeman, $10 million for renovations to the engineering facilities at Montana Tech in Butte and $10 million for renovations to the Clapp Science Building at the University of Montana.
A similar proposal for funding in 2013 failed, but this time Bullock is proposing one bill instead of the multiple bills that were filed in 2013. Among the infrastructure investments in Bullock’s bill are $45 million in grants for eastern Montana communities affected by oil and gas exploration; $26.6 million in renewable resource loans; $165.9 million for a Long Range Building Program; $31.2 million for grants for school facilities; $15 million for statewide broadband expenditures; $3.3 million for regional water projects and $7 million for mental health facilities in Fergus and Deer Lodge counties.