With major development planned in the West Broadway, Reserve Street and Mullan Road areas, Montana Senator Steve Daines visited the area across from the Hellgate Elementary School to talk about how the federal government can help fund the improvements.

“We’re getting a first hand look at the infrastructure challenges that Missoula is facing,” said Senator Daines. “Missoula’s experiencing growth and there’s a real housing crunch. Affordable housing is a huge issue here, so I’m looking at how we can take some federal grant dollars and bring them here to Missoula to alleviate some of the congestion, the traffic issues, bike lanes and sewer and water systems.”

Daines said the partnership between Missoula County and the federal government can help to alleviate some of the infrastructure issues.

“We’ve got some constraints here in Missoula,” he said. “They’re not allowing proper growth to occur, so this is a partnership between the people of Missoula, the State of Montana and the federal government. I’ll be taking this input back to Washington so that I can work to get some grant dollars, called a BUILD grant which will be about $12 million that we need here in Missoula to fix this problem. This is a public safety issue, an affordable housing issue and infrastructure is the number one problem we have right now.”

According to the Transportation dot gov website, the following describes the purpose of BUILD grants.

‘The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. Previously known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grants, Congress has dedicated nearly $7.1 billion for ten rounds of National Infrastructure Investments to fund projects that have a significant local or regional impact.

 

In each competition, DOT receives hundreds of applications to build and repair critical pieces of our freight and passenger transportation networks. The BUILD program enables DOT to examine these projects on their merits to help ensure that taxpayers are getting the highest value for every dollar invested.

 

The eligibility requirements of BUILD allow project sponsors at the State and local levels to obtain funding for multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects that are more difficult to support through traditional DOT programs. BUILD can fund port and freight rail projects, for example, which play a critical role in our ability to move freight, but have limited sources of Federal funds. BUILD can provide capital funding directly to any public entity, including municipalities, counties, port authorities, tribal governments, MPOs, or others in contrast to traditional Federal programs which provide funding to very specific groups of applicants (mostly State DOTs and transit agencies). This flexibility allows BUILD and our traditional partners at the State and local levels to work directly with a host of entities that own, operate, and maintain much of our transportation infrastructure, but otherwise cannot turn to the Federal government for support.’