House revives infrastructure bill, cuts borrowing to $80M

Since this is a bonding bill, the House will need a two-thirds vote to pass the bill. Infrastructure has proven to be a sticking point as the Legislature draws to a close.

By Cole Grant/UM Legislative News Service

HELENA – The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday revived and tightened up a bill that would borrow money to pay for some infrastructure projects like improvements to a park and to public schools.

The original amount for Senate Bill 367, carried by Sen. Eric Moore, R-Miles City, was $98 million. Now it’s whittled down to about $80 million.

Among other things, the new amendments cut a little less than half of the funding for the quality schools grant program. That would fund things like building repairs and fire system upgrades for public schools throughout the state.

Rep. Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka, whose infrastructure bill failed earlier this month, supported the bill.

“I think the amendments have been well thought out, well put together, and covers some things I had been involved in trying to make happen,” Cuffe said. “So, I think it’s time to move it forward.”

Since this is a bonding bill, the House will need a two-thirds vote to pass the bill. Infrastructure has proven to be a sticking point as the Legislature draws to a close.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.