Montana’s Need To Make Investments in Infrastructure
Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and his Republican challenger, Greg Gianforte, agree on Montana’s need to make significant investments in infrastructure. The condition of roads, sewers, water lines and other public facilities have become an issue at the forefront of the gubernatorial campaigns and a new, nonprofit coalition of local officials, unions, business organizations and economic development groups is forcing the issue.
Darryl James is executive director of the Montana Infrastructure Coalition that was formed in May. For six years, the Legislature has failed to approve a major infrastructure funding bill. In 2011, the Legislature faced rapid growth related to the Bakken oil boom.
After nearly all the state’s legislators approved a proposed $35 million in development grants, it was vetoed by Gov. Bullock to preserve the $300 million rainy day fund he insisted was necessary, but Republicans considered excessive. As the coal industry struggles, the rainy day fund seems necessary.