NewsMontana Politics


Tester: $1T federal infrastructure deal reached

Clears first procedural vote in Senate Wednesday
Sen. Tester still wants more answers from US Postal Service
Posted at 5:14 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 19:53:56-04

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said a bipartisan group of senators – including himself – has reached a deal on “historic infrastructure legislation," which that cleared its first procedural vote Wednesday night in the Senate.

“Everywhere I go in Montana, I hear from folks who tell me they expect their elected leaders to work across the aisle to deliver real, lasting results for our state and our economy,” he said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will do that.”

The bill – which is not yet written – will contain about $1 trillion to rebuild and improve roads, bridges, high-speed Internet networks, airports and water systems.

The Senate voted 67-32 Wednesday evening to begin debating the package later this week.

Tester, a Democrat, said the contents of the bill should upgrade Montana’s aging infrastructure, create good-paying jobs and “help us maintain our competitive edge over China.”

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that while negotiators and the Biden White House are confident that a deal has been reached, the progress still could prove “politically fragile” in a debate that is “just beginning.”

Components of the deal include:

· $55 billion for water infrastructure, including money for rural water projects in central and north-central Montana, to complete Indian water-rights settlements and to rehabilitate the Milk River Project in north-central Montana.

· $65 billion to expand high-speed Internet networks into rural America.

· $40 billion to fix aging bridges.

· Money for a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.

· $11 billion to help states and Indian tribes reclaim abandoned mines.

· $3.4 billion to reduce wildfire risk, including hazardous-fuel treatments, pay for firefighters and grants to communities.

· $7 billion to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve flood mitigation.

Tester said he’d provide additional information about the bill as it becomes available.