Montana Senator Says State Knew About Invasive Mussles, Lack of DOT Funding For Months Before Announcing
Over the past 48 hours, news broke that the Montana Department of Transportation had run out of funds and would have to scale back on some planned projects, including work on the Russell Street Bridge in Missoula. Montana Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas says that this information was known by the Governor for months, but was kept under-wraps because it might impact Steve Bullock’s reelection bid.
“I realized it was announced and was in the paper yesterday, but we have known for months that this is pending and coming and certainly the governor’s office did as well,” said Thomas. “They have the greatest information available to them that is available to anybody in the state on something like this. I think that they wanted to get past the election and announce it after the election.”
Thomas says another recent headline about the spread of invasive musseles in Montana waterways is old news too.
“I have it on good accord that this was a known situation in July of this year,” Thomas said. “That doesn’t make any sense to me because the minute you find something out like that you want to be all over it in a heart beat and not let a day, or a week, or a month go by in addressing that and controlling any movement of that nasty mussel to anywhere else. Of course, in the summer you are in the height of voting season and that is when you are going to have more issues with it being transported.”
Thomas has been very critical of governmental transparency in the run up to the 2017 legislature. On Tuesday, December 6, he accused the Department of Health and Human Services of ‘not cooperating’ with the legislature and “stomping on whistleblowers.”