HELENA – The Montana House of Representatives voted in bipartisan fashion yesterday to pass HB 473, sponsored by Rep. Frank Garner of Kalispell, on Second Reading by a vote of 56-44. The bill now goes to House Appropriations for action and eventual Third Reading on the House Floor.
Deemed the Bridge and Road Safety and Accountability Act, HB 473 proposes a fuel tax increase to fund improvements to Montana’s roads and bridges, as well as funding for the Montana Highway Patrol. As a member of the Montana Infrastructure Coalition, the Montana Chamber strongly supports this bill.
“We are thrilled to see this bill advance and are grateful for this positive and very important vote,” said Webb Brown, President and CEO. “Improving the safety and efficiency of Montana’s crumbling roads and bridges is critical to our state’s prosperity. We understand it is difficult to vote in favor of a tax increase, but this bill is vital to the safety of Montanans and will be well worth the investment.”
If passed, the average added cost for Montana drivers is $60 per year. For the price of a large latte a month, Montana’s roads and bridges could be drastically improved. This bill allows the state to leverage federal matching funds and provides additional dollars to city and county governments.
“The Montana Chamber is grateful for the strong support from the Democratic Caucus and numerous Republicans on this bill. We hope to continue working together on legislation that improves our state’s infrastructure,” said Bridger Mahlum, Government Relations Director at the Montana Chamber.
Infrastructure investment is a core objective in the Montana Chamber’s ten-year strategic plan Envision 2026. HB 473 is a huge first step in fixing Montana’s failing infrastructure. In recognition of its importance, the Montana Chamber is including action on this bill in our biennial Voting Review.
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