Montana Infrastructure Coalition Lays Groundwork for Future

FOR IMMMEDIATE RELEASE: Montana Infrastructure Coalition Lays Groundwork for Future

In conjunction with national Infrastructure Week, the Montana Infrastructure Coalition created a Research and Policy Committee to analyze the most effective funding methods for future infrastructure investment. All options will be on the table to develop a consensus funding package in the next legislative session and beyond.

The Infrastructure Coalition, a non-partisan group of over 50 members representing design professionals, labor, trade associations, construction contractors, and local governments will study comprehensive infrastructure needs and funding mechanisms this summer. The immediate aim is to submit proposals for improvements to Montana’s infrastructure funding system in time for the 2017 Legislative session.

Infrastructure Week outlines a national schedule of events; media coverage; and education and advocacy efforts to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting all Americans. Policy discussions, legislative briefings, presentations, ribbon cuttings and field tours are being conducted across the country to highlight the desperate need for investment in public infrastructure.

The Montana Infrastructure Coalition is using Infrastructure Week to spur constructive dialogue in Montana. Coalition Chair, Webb Brown, said, “The message of Infrastructure Week is simply to remind policy makers and the public that infrastructure matters to our communities, our state, our safety, our quality of life, and our economy.” Good roads, bridges, highways, water, sewer, and other essential community infrastructure matters to the goods we ship and the companies that make and sell them; it matters to our daily commutes and our summer vacations, to drinking water from our faucets, to the lights in our homes, and ultimately to every aspect of our daily lives.

Every year we fail to adequately invest in our infrastructure, Montana becomes less competitive, our economy grows more slowly, and families and businesses lose valuable time and money. Lack of investment in our infrastructure ripples throughout the economy: for every $1 invested in infrastructure nearly, $2 in output is created – putting our friends and neighbors to work.

Reacting to a recent Brookings Institution report, Jason Rittal, Vice Chair of the Coalition and Board Member of the Montana Economic Developers Association, said, “Too often, policy makers and the public tend to focus simply on the immediate and direct jobs created by the construction of infrastructure projects, while significant economic benefits extend far beyond construction.” The Brookings report highlights the diversified employment and long-term economic benefits of infrastructure investment.

The report notes the steady stream of trained workforce necessary to design, construct, maintain and operate our various infrastructure facilities, and estimates that over 14.5 million workers – or 11 percent of the entire US workforce – are directly employed in infrastructure-related jobs.

With this in mind, every dollar we spend on the asphalt, steel and concrete used to build our communities is also a direct investment in long-term jobs and the economy. To grow our economy, keep Montanan’s safe, and our communities strong, we need all levels of government and the private sector to work together to rebuild and repair our critical infrastructure.

About the Montana Infrastructure Coalition: The Montana Infrastructure Coalition (MIC) was formally established in the spring of 2016 as an informational non-profit organization. The long-term intent is to lobby the legislature to prioritize infrastructure investment and make long-term modification in financing structures to foster sustainable investments in our most critical infrastructure. Current Board Members include: Webb Brown (Montana Chamber of Commerce), Tim Burton (Montana League of Cities and Towns), Jason Rittal (Montana Economic Developers Association), Jon Metropoulos (Montana Association of Oil, Gas and Coal Counties), Cary Hegreberg (Montana Contractors Association), Chris Cavazos (Montana AFL-CIO), Jay Skoog (Montana Chapter – American Council of Engineering Companies).

For more information, please contact:
Executive Director, Darryl James
406.459-6574, or via email at [email protected]