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Montana Infrastructure Coalition Adopts Legislative Package

November 16, 2016View for printing

At their recent membership meeting, the Montana Infrastructure Coalition http://mtinfrastructure.org/ adopted a package of tools to address the declining condition of our most critical infrastructure, including consistent funding mechanisms for roads, bridges, water and sewer projects. Infrastructure Coalition Executive Director, Darryl James, says "Montana hasn't adjusted our revenue tools and infrastructure funding formulas in decades, and we are unable to keep pace with growing physical and regulatory demands. Our goal as a Coalition is to identify sustainable funding for the essential infrastructure required to build and maintain healthy communities and a robust economy." The Infrastructure Coalition package includes the following major components:

Fuel Tax Increase:

With a $0.10 per gallon increase in the fuel tax and additional adjustments in the fuel tax revenue distribution formula, Montana can fully leverage available federal highway funds, and provide a long-overdue funding increase for City and County roadway and bridge improvements.

Local Option Tourism Tax:

With an emphasis on local control, each community would be empowered to decide whether a local tourism tax is appropriate in their area. This tool requires local voter approval and re-approval upon a mandatory sunset, applicability to a limited range of luxury items, at least five percent of the revenue returned to local residents through property tax relief, and a commitment of revenue to be invested in infrastructure.

Enhancing Infrastructure Assistance through the Coal Tax Trust Fund:

The Legislature has struggled in recent years with issuing bonds for infrastructure that are backed by the General Fund. As an alternative, the Coalition proposes that the Coal Trust be capped at $1 billion and new revenues used to back bonds issued specifically for vetted and prioritized infrastructure projects, such as those that might qualify for the Treasure State Endowment Program.

Additional Tools:

The Coalition is developing enabling legislation to provide local governments with the ability to leverage private investment through Public Private Partnerships (P3s), and will also support a reasonable and balanced Bonding Bill focused on critical infrastructure needs across the state. "The Infrastructure Coalition looks forward to collaborating with the new legislative leadership and the Bullock Administration to develop this new approach, but what we know now is that the status quo isn't working, and we simply must start taking incremental steps towards addressing a problem that isn't going away and isn't getting any smaller," said Mr. James.

About the Montana Infrastructure Coalition

The Montana Infrastructure Coalition is an association of over 70 public and private organizations involved in the design, construction, finance, 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.

Contact: Executive Director, Darryl James 406.441.9100 | darryl@jamesconsult.com
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