U.S. SETNATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today secured important funding to help improve Montana’s transportation services including for roadways, highways, runways and the big sky.
This afternoon, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations passed the bipartisan FY2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
“Improving our roadways, bridges and runways is critically important for Montana’s connectivity and economic activity,” Daines stated. “I am thrilled to secure important resources for Montana and look forward to continue working to improve Montana’s infrastructure.”
Daines secured the following resources for Montana:
Enhancing Pipeline Safety:
Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) – Daines secured $272M in funding for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, fully funding the pipeline safety bill Daines authored in 2016.
Enhancing Air Service and Safety:
Essential Air Service Fully Funded – Daines secured $155M in funding ensuring that small, rural communities which would otherwise go without air service have access to the national air transportation system, especially in eastern Montana. This includes Butte, Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Sidney, West Yellowstone and Wolf Point.
Airport Improvement Program (AIP) – Daines secured $3.6B in funding for the Airport Improvement Program, providing resources to nearly 70 airports in Montana, and included bill language to ensure smaller Montana airports do not see a reduction.
Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) – Daines secured $10M in funding, for the Small Community Air Service Development Program. This program leverages federal dollars with local dollars in a fiscally responsible fashion. It has helped to expand service in Butte, Kalispell, Bozeman, Missoula, West Yellowstone, Helena and Great Falls.
Contract Tower Program – Daines secured $162M in funding for the contract tower program that funds towers in Bozeman, Kalispell and Missoula. Towers in this program are responsible for 28 percent of air traffic and utilize only 14 percent of total funding. It is critical to continue this cost efficient program that provides essential safety services.
Approach Control Radar for the Helena airport – Daines secured report language that directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provide approach control radar to all FAA “Type 4” air traffic control towers, including at the Helena airport.
Radar or NextGen at Baker Airport, Under Powder River Training Complex – Daines secured report language enhancing safety for general aviation operations in and near military operations areas, such as Baker Municipal Airport.
Aircraft Certification Service – Daines secured $226.7M in funding to address existing backlogs for aviation manufacturers and help foster job growth, specifically protecting Boeing jobs in Helena.
Remove Deed Restrictions at West Yellowstone Airport – Daines secured language indicating Congress’s support to lift existing restrictions and allow WYS to develop hotel, gas station or other facilities on their property
Funds UAV Research Conducted at MSU – Daines secured $12M in funding for research for the FAA’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), of which Montana State University, Bozeman is a core university.
Backcountry Aviation Airstrips – Daines secured language that declares the backcountry landing strip on Federal Lands as important assets to the national aviation infrastructure.
Enhancing Road Infrastructure and Safety:
FAST Act Fully Funded – Daines secured $44.973B in funding for Federal-aide highway programs in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act – the longest term highway bill passed by Congress in nearly two decades. This includes funding for the Federal Lands Transportation Program, Federal Land Access Program and funding for drunk driving prevention programs Daines authored. To improve stewardship of taxpayer resources, Daines also secured report language directing the streamlining or elimination of burdensome regulations, as well as giving more autonomy to State, local, and tribal governments, in building infrastructure.
Autonomous Vehicles – Daines secured funding for autonomous vehicle research and development in rural areas conducted by the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, Bozeman.
Timber Bridge Initiative – Daines secured report language that recognizes the value mass timber provides in bridge construction and urges continued collaboration between FHWA and Department of Agriculture’s Forest Products Laboratory.
Border Infrastructure – Daines secures report language that provides rural border states with increased flexibility of Federal highway dollars to facilitate cross border travel.
Expanding Rail Connectivity:
Amtrak’s National Network Fully Funded – Daines secured $1.6B in funding for Amtrak, including focusing efforts to establish a stop Culbertson, MT. The funding also ensures that Wolf Point, Glasgow, Malta, Havre, Shelby, Cut Bank, Browning, East Glacier, Essex, West Glacier, Whitefish and Libby maintain service and remain connected.
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) – Daines secured $92.547M in funding for CRISI, including a 25% rural set aside. This allows all authorized project types to compete for appropriated funds and will increase competition, enabling limited federal resources to go to the highest value projects. The City of Culbertson will qualify to compete for these funds in an effort to reestablish passenger rail service.
Prioritizing Indian Housing:
Native American Housing Block Grant – Daines secures a $1M increase in Native American Housing Block Grant, from $654M to $655M
Eliminating, Waste and Abuse:
Federal Housing Administration Conveyance Process – Daines secured language to have the Federal Housing Administration adopt information technology recommendations that eliminate $2.23 billion in identified waste.