Negotiations Underway for Infrastructure Bonding Bill - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Negotiations Underway for Infrastructure Bonding Bill

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Monday, Democrats attempted again to get an infrastructure bonding bill through, but were unsuccessful.

While more than $200 million in cash bills have been approved, including projects like roads and bridges, a bonding bill would address projects for students and veterans.

Those with a stake in those projects hope lawmakers can pass a version of version of a bonding bill- whether it be the Senate’s $98 million bill, or the smaller $78 million House bill.

On several occasions, the House bill has failed to get the 67 necessary votes from Representatives. Meanwhile, the Senate bill has not even gotten to the House floor. With five session days left, time is running out. So what exactly is at stake?

  • Southwestern Montana Veteran’s Home in Butte- $10 million
  • The expansion of the dental hygiene instructional facility at Great Falls College MSU-$5.4 million
  • A science and technology building addition at MSU Billings- $5 million
  • Romney Hall renovation at MSU in Bozeman - $25 million
  • Upgrades at K-12 schools across the state- The rest of the money in each bill would go towards ‘Quality Schools’ grants.

“Infrastructure needs are something that needs to be funded today because it’s going to cost taxpayers a lot of money in the future if you keep on putting them off.” said Bill Kennedy, President of the MSU Billings Foundation.

“For us it’s the science and allied health building. Healthcare is huge in this community. So it’s very important that we have our trained workforce and that we have the building for it. Time is of the essence. Get people working and within 19 months have students in that new building and ready to be trained for the new workforce.”

Tuesday, the Governor had legislative leaders meet in his office in an effort to reach an agreement for the bonding bill. House Speaker Austin Knudsen suggested Democrats give into bills like limits on abortion and expanding charter schools in exchange for passing a bonding bill. But Democrats did not agree.

Republicans say they will come back with other policy bills to leverage.