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We should all celebrate the passage of the $1.3 trillion infrastructure bill, shaped by our Sen. Jon Tester along with five Republicans and the White House. Below is a partial list of what this bill brings to Montana:

-$2.8 billion for highways.

-$225 million for bridge repair and replacement.

-$144 million for airport infrastructure.

-$1 billion for regional water projects and water quality improvement. Included in this is $100 million for the Milk River Project.

-$300 million for water rights settlements.

-$100 million for broadband development.

In addition to money specifically earmarked for the state is $3.37 billion for wildfire risk mitigation throughout the West.

In August, when the bill was voted on in the Senate, Sen. Steve Daines opposed it, arguing it is a “budget buster . . . that is unacceptable.” This is confusing, as in 2017, he voted for Trump’s tax cut that added $1.4 trillion to the federal budget deficit—that’s $.1 trillion more than the cost of the infrastructure bill. Furthermore, it’s estimated that by 2027, that tax cut will cost 99% of Americans $1,370 more in taxes.

Let’s assume that the increase in our taxes will be similar for the infrastructure bill. But let's also consider what the state gets in return: fixed roads and bridges, more and better water, better airports, affordable broadband for all, and a chance at fewer fires devastating our beautiful landscape and air quality.

Rep. Matt Rosendale of course voted against the passage of the bill. He argued that it was “chock-full of liberal priorities.” Looking at the above figures, those priorities, whatever they are, will be mighty helpful to all Montanans.

Glen Chamberlain, 


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