Show Us the Money

By Beacon Staff

Matt Gouras, of The Associated Press, reported Tuesday that the state of Montana has drawn up a $3.1-billion wish list for infrastructure projects that it wants paid for by a potential federal stimulus plan. It includes mostly large transportation projects, including $54 million for Two Medicine Bridge on U.S. Highway 2 east of Glacier National Park and another $33 million for improvements to U.S. Highway 2 south of Kalispell.

The Beacon’s Myers Reece talked to local officials about their priorities for any potential influx of cash. Many of their requests – from sewers to roads – are predictable.

What’s interesting – to me, anyway – is that local municipalities don’t trust the state to divvy up the stimulus. From Reece’s story:

Local governments are hoping the plan, if approved by Congress, will distribute the money directly to them, instead of through the state. Though specific details are still unclear, it currently appears that the money would be handed over to the state, which local officials say is inefficient and detrimental to the plan’s goal of providing immediate assistance to “ready-to-go” projects.