There’s a feeling of déjà vu at the Montana Legislature as, once again, a comprehensive infrastructure bill is still under consideration in the waning days of the session. Two infrastructure bills, which have lots of similarities, are currently sitting in the house. House appropriations chairwoman Nancy Ballance says the debate will probably go down to the wire.

"I would say that absolutely this will go right down to the wire and I don't think anyone should be surprised by that," said Ballance. "It is very similar to what was done last session where the Governor came in with his request that everything, an all-up infrastructure bill, be done. It was smaller than last session, but it was still larger than most people wanted to see."

Balance says the house is working to find enough votes to back one of the bills and when that happens there will be progress. She says the final price point is not the main consideration.

"I think the problem is getting 67 people to agree on something that that they are willing to take forward and vote for," Ballance said. "It is not really a question in my mind of price point or anything else, it is just what can 67 people agree to do."

During the last legislative session, both parties played the blame game after a comprehensive infrastructure bill failed to pass: Republicans placed the blame on a veto from Governor Bullock and “all or nothing” demands, while democrats pointed the finger at the legislature for not being willing to pass the full package.

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