Legislative Appropriations Committee Fully Funds Highway Infrastructure Projects
On President's Day, the Montana Legislature's bipartisan Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation found over $220 million to fully fund Montana road construction projects.
Subcommittee Chairman Carl Glimm, a Republican from Flathead County, said Governor Bullock's budget originally had cut millions of dollars from infrastructure projects.
"Those projects were reduced by almost 24 percent from the Governor's budget," Glimm said. "We went into our subcommittee with a goal of finding as much money as possible for construction projects to build infrastructure for the taxpayers of the state of Montana without having to raise taxes. We were able to actually get enough to fully reverse the cuts the governor had made in his budget to the legislature."
Glimm said the committee was able to pare down the budget of the Department of Transportation, as well as find funds from other sources, without raising taxes.
"There's no increase in taxes," he said. "It's actually made through efficiencies found in our work. The department had quite a number of empty or vacant positions that we eliminated, so we were able to take that money and put it towards construction projects, and we also found significant savings on the administrative side. It's all funding that was meant for the state's special highway fund."
Glimm said the restoration of funding will be a boon to private sector construction companies over the next two years.
"It's an additional $220 million dollars worth of construction projects that will go out," he said. "That will be welcome news for construction companies across the state because it's 24 percent more than we were going to spend under the governor's proposal. In the first 37 days of the legislature, we were able, through a bipartisan effort, to restore than money to the highway construction fund."