Stimulus 2: Roads or Coal Plants?

By Beacon Staff

Montana’s congressional delegation seems to agree that President-elect Barack Obama will propose a massive stimulus plan in his first few weeks in office. How, exactly, those billions of dollars will (or should) be used is still being debated. But here area few opinions closer to home.

During a visit to the Beacon office Thursday, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., emphasized the need to spend the money on rebuilding crumbling infrastructure. A plan, he said, that would “pay back for generations to come.”

The same day, Montana’s lone U.S. Congressman Denny Rehberg, a Republican, told a Helena crowd that improving infrastructure won’t turn around the economy.

According to the Associated Press:

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Rep. Denny Rehberg says federal plans to stimulate the economy should focus on major projects with a lasting effect, not just infrastructure work that creates temporary construction jobs.

Rehberg says fixing bridges and filling potholes won’t turn the economy around. Rehberg spoke Thursday at a breakfast meeting of Hometown Helena.

Rehberg suggested using the stimulus money for the creation of a new energy program that could help create coal-to-liquid fuel plants, coal-fired power plants, improve carbon sequestration practices or build wind farms.

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