I have been undertaking a little research into what the stimulus package recently passed by the feds will be buying here in Montana. The Missoulian also has a good article about these issues here. Lots of the money is going to purchasing new equipment for state buildings, especially in Helena, such as lighting retrofitting for the records management ($50,000). One of the good things the money will be going towards at the Capitol is improving energy efficiency and upgrading to alternative energy use (almost $900,000). Lots of money is going to such projects, which will reduce costs in the long-run and give the state more flexibility in its energy sources.
There is also some spending that seems wasteful in terms of helping our state. $400,000 to replace the Capitol's parking complex? Seeley Lake gets approx. $9 million for sewer infrastructure, while the towns of Stevensville and Hamilton receive almost $8 million in combined money for commerce, what ever that means.
So what does Missoula receive? Money going to Missoula totals about $41.6 million dollars. Fully 90% of this goes towards wastewater management and sewer projects. $300,000 goes to the UM for water infrastructure. The only money that Missoula will be getting for transportation infrastructure is $2.9 million for the Scott St. overpass.
It looks like a big fight may be developing over how the money is shared across the state. On Wednesday, March 4th, there will be a meeting in Helena over the distribution of Federal stimulus money. Our mayor and many local government officials will be there, as will many government officials from all over the state. I would bet that everyone has a gripe with how the money will be spent, why their local towns and counties aren't getting enough for projects they want, and how the money was divided in the first place. My guess is that it will be awhile before anyone, anywhere within the states sees any money.
7 hours ago