The Montana Infrastructure Coalition presented the coalition’s goals to Butte officials Monday July 11 that illustrated the need to direct more money to local roads, sewers and other public infrastructure in Montana.
If you didn’t know, the Montana Infrastructure Coalition began this spring of 2016, after a $150 million bill funding infrastructure and building projects across the state died in the Montana Legislature.
Tim Burton, executive director of the Montana League of Cities and Towns, said the new group was nonpartisan, had raised $100,000 already rather easily and 50 organizations already had joined. He said there was interest in Butte and other cities and towns to get on board.
- The 2017 legislative session won’t start until January, but the Coalition will initiate its mission early.
- Key points of the presentation include:
- The Coalition is not a political organization, it is a research and education organization
- The Coalition is a long-term enterprise
- Identify adequately fund for the most pressing local needs for roads, bridges, sewers, water and other infrastructure
- All but three of Montana’s 129 incorporated cities and towns belong to the Coalition
- The bill that failed in 2015 would have provided at least $150 million in cash and bonding authority for local government infrastructure and state long-range building projects
- The bill would also arrange a state loan up to $10 million to help pay for construction of a long-sought veterans home in Butte
- Give cities with more weight more priority in getting state dollars
- Examine all ways of funding local infrastructure projects and decide which ones to pursue in 2017 and beyond
- Suggest the establishment of a committee on local government funding that would meet between sessions to keep issues in the spotlight
- Get people advocated for local public infrastructure funding on the same page
- Develop ground up support for infrastructure needs