$125M from Stimulus Set for National Forests, Northern Border

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester said Friday that about $125 million in federal stimulus money will be spent on improving commerce and security along Montana’s northern border and on improving the state’s national forest lands.

The senators said about $77 million will be spent on refurbishing, remodeling, and in some cases, rebuilding five ports of entry along the border with Canada. The money is expected to be split almost evenly between the Scobey, Wild Horse, Del Bonita, Morgan and Whitetail ports.

“This is good news for all of Montana and especially for communities across the northern tier,” said Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “I helped write the Jobs Bill because it’s a smart way to create good-paying jobs and turn our economy around.”

Tester and Baucus recently pushed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for funding along Montana’s northern tier. Tester is a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Democratic senators also said Friday that about $48 million in federal stimulus money will be spent on improving roads, cleaning up abandoned mines and reducing the risk of wildfire on national forest lands.

Baucus and Tester said about $31.9 million of that money will be spent on road construction and on cleaning up abandoned mines. About $7.2 million will go toward wildfire management and forest health, while $9.1 million will be spent on wildfire management on state-owned and private lands.

The $125 million announced Friday is in addition to about $1 billion the state already is receiving from the federal stimulus plan.

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