Montana Senators Want Jobs Bill Money to Help Fund Power Line

By Beacon Staff

GREAT FALLS – Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester say they want money from the federal jobs bill to help a Canadian developer build a 214-mile power line that is expected to carry wind-generated electricity between central Montana and Alberta.

The request was made Wednesday in a letter to Tim Meeks, administrator of the Western Area Power Administration, which has the authority under the bill to borrow $3.25 billion from the U.S. Treasury.

“The Montana-Alberta Transmission Line is a fully permitted ‘shovel ready’ project that will provide integration of renewable generation and create jobs,” Democrats Tester and Baucus wrote to Meeks. “It would be a worthy recipient of funding made available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

The $140 million transmission line, being developed by Toronto-based Tonbridge Power, would cut through Cascade, Teton, Pondera and Glacier counties. It would carry up to 300 megawatts of power in each direction between Great Falls and Lethbridge, Alberta.

WAPA, which markets and delivers power to 15 states, is one of four power-marketing administrations within the U.S. Department of Energy. According to WAPA’s Web site, federal funding will be provided “in partnerships” to develop transmission infrastructure that delivers renewable energy to markets across the West.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.