(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after voting for the bipartisan highway bill that makes long-term investments in the nation’s roads, bridges, and transit systems and will not add to the national debt:
“I’m pleased the Senate passed this bipartisan bill to put folks to work rebuilding our infrastructure. While the House argues with itself, the Senate is coming together to make smart investments that strengthen our economy and create jobs. I’ll keep supporting these kinds of responsible, bipartisan efforts that move Montana forward.”
Tester successfully included an amendment to the bill that allows farm vehicles to cross state lines without facing unnecessary regulations. Currently, Montana farmers and ranchers can be subject to onerous regulations that can result in having their vehicles inspected each trip – even if they are just driving from the field to the barn.
The Senate voted 74 to 22 to approve the highway bill, also known as the Surface Transportation bill. The bill is expected to create or maintain hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next two years by investing billions of dollars to improve the nation’s transportation system.
The bill also reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, while including a provision from Tester requiring that 1.5 percent of LWCF funding be set aside each year to secure public access to existing public lands. It also extends Secure Rural Schools and Payments in Lieu of Taxes, two initiatives that help rural communities fund education, first responders, road construction, and forest management.