Customer opinion: infrastructure investments are a game-changer for Montanais | Chroniclers



My name is Sheila Hogan and I grew up the second of seven Butte children. My father worked in the mines and my mother was a jack of all trades – working in hospital labs as a medical technologist and raising our children. I grew up with the values ​​of practicality, resilience and resourcefulness … it was Butte after all.

So why am I telling you something so personal? Because the policy IS personal. Through today’s political polarization, we forget that the politics unfolding in Washington, DC, one way or another, will land right in the middle of our kitchen table, impacting our lives. and our future.

This includes passing the game-changing bipartisan infrastructure package, directed and transported to the finish line by Montana’s own Jon Tester, all without raising taxes for Montana families. So, what is the impact of this package on Montanais in real life? Lots of ways.

First of all, I know that infrastructure is not the most obvious problem. But the last time something so substantial was actually wanted was under the Eisenhower administration. The result? The American interstate system.

Fast forward to 2021. We use all of Montana’s freeways and know all too well the rumbling sensation of driving on a stretch of freeway that probably hasn’t been repaired since the 1950s.

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The bipartisan infrastructure bill provides about $ 2.8 billion for highways in Montana. Have you ever walked across a bridge in Montana wondering if the crumbling pillars supporting it are safe? Montana will receive about $ 225 million for a new bridge initiative to replace and repair bridges in poor condition.

And who makes these repairs? Montana businesses. Hands from Montana, working at high paying jobs to improve our highways and bridges in Montana. Our cities benefit from this investment, bringing work to the hundreds of engineers, construction experts and their construction teams who bring it to life.

Did you drive to Butte, Miles City, or any other town in Montana for Thanksgiving? Be careful in the months and years to come, as the highways and bridges you travel will receive the attention they deserve.

The infrastructure bill does not stop at highways and bridges. Have you ever had an internet outage in the middle of something big? Did your child have trouble following distance learning due to a faulty connection? Are you using the Internet for your business?

Senator Tester’s Infrastructure Bill makes significant, tangible improvements to connectivity in every part of the state. The legislation includes a major subsidy program for the deployment of broadband Internet in areas without access, of which $ 4 billion is earmarked for areas where it is particularly difficult to deploy. The test senator ensured that provisions relating to consumer protection were included to prevent price increases and that eligible families could select the Internet service provider of their choice.

Ultimately, the infrastructure package is not a political coup from DC. It’s an investment here – in Montana people, jobs, highways, high-speed internet, water projects, fires, and border security. It strengthens our competitive economic advantage over other countries like China and supports our economies and local businesses.

In a time when politics can be chaotic and confusing, Senator Tester showed us something I always knew growing up in Butte: In Montana, Democrats keep their promises.

Sheila Hogan is the executive director of the Montana Democratic Party.


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