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Montana Near Top in Construction Job Losses

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October 4, 2016View for printing

Information released by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) this week shows that Montana joins just 13 other states and the District of Columbia in job losses in the construction sector over the last year.

Regardless of the manner in which one supports an investment of public monies into infrastructure projects and whether it is good economic policy, the economic effect of not investing in infrastructure is indisputable.

We all understand the importance of clean water and safe roads in every community, but training and retaining the labor force required to maintain those facilities is also necessary to their continuing operation, and Montana is losing ground.

Montana ranks fourth in the real number of construction jobs lost (-1,900) and second in percentage of construction jobs lost over the past 12 months (-7.2 percent). While several factors are at play, the lack of a consistent and reliable flow of infrastructure projects has resulted in layoffs and relocations. As work slows here, Montana contractors seek work in neighboring states or lose their employees to nearby markets with more construction activity like Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and California.

The Infrastructure Coalition is working on a non-partisan legislative package that will help to address some of our most pressing infrastructure needs. Please join us in expressing your support for comprehensive and sustainable legislation that will begin to address critical infrastructure needs, keep our talented workforce fully employed, and shore up the foundations of a healthy economy in Montana.

About the Montana Infrastructure Coalition

The Montana Infrastructure Coalition is an association of over 60 public and private organizations involved in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of our most critical infrastructure in Montana. The purpose of this Coalition is to help change public policy and improve the manner in which State and local governments build and maintain these essential community assets.

Montana Infrastructure Coalition

Darryl L. James, Executive Director

Darryl L. James Consulting, LLC

PO Box 1203

Helena, MT 59624

(406) 441-9100 office

(406) 459-6574 mobile

Reader Comments:

While I wholeheartedly agree that infrastructure investment is important to the economy and the future of the state I strongly disagree with the assertion of the MIC that we should divert infrastructure money from our education system to fund cities and towns that don't have the political will to raise taxes for their own improvements. Do the research! MIC will aggressively lobby to cut education infrastructure from the bill again this session even though that investment creates just as many jobs and has the additional benefits of preparing our kids to be good employees and good people.

The Montana Infrastructure Coalition appreciates Mr. Trangmoe's concerns, but there appears to be some misunderstanding.

First, the Coalition was formed just this spring and played no role in the infrastructure funding debate during the 2015 legislative session. As a broad-based organization , we have individual members who may have opposed certain aspects of the bonding bill last session, but the Coalition is prepared to support a comprehensive infrastructure funding approach that directs more monies towards Montana's most critical infrastructure needs without robbing from other defined needs and priorities across the state.

This means we need to explore efficiencies in existing programs as well as new revenue streams, but continuing to divide an already-insufficient pool of money is not a sustainable solution.

Jason Rittal

MT Infrastructure Coalition Board Member
--Jason Rittal

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