Update from Helena
| February 9, 2022 12:00 AM
This past week I was in Helena for an interim Transportation Committee meeting. This is a six-member committee consisting of House members and Senate members. This committee meets every two to three months to discuss concerns and possible legislation for the 2023 legislative session.
Topics of discussion were electric vehicle road use fees. This was an informational discussion that also included the need to discuss options for charging stations as well. The information coming from other states and manufactures is still being investigated for more discussion at out next meetings.
Topics carried over from past meetings were the discussion of autonomous vehicle rules and considerations for the near future. This topic will take a lower priority, but cannot be totally dismissed.
DOJ addressed the vinyl license plates sent out, stating the aluminum has been delivered and those vinyl plates will soon be replaced with the aluminum plates.
Other topics for discussion bought up for future meetings are the need to try and reduce the red tape for counties and cities to request their Bridge and Road Safety funds and ideas for bicycles safety on our roadways, which may include a discussion of bicycle registration.
While I was in Helena, the ARPA Commission had a public meeting. A grant application deadline was the previous Friday so they had a time for public comments. These applications dealt with sewer and water projects. Since two of the new applications came from St. Regis and Plains, I took the time to give support in testimony to these projects.
The St. Regis application was for the repair of the repair of the sewer line under the Clark Fork River. There was a failure of this line last year and a temporary repair was done. The engineering has been done for a permanent fix and this grant was for the funds needed to complete this project.
The other application I spoke for was the request from Plains for funding to relocate the Plain Sewer Lagoon.
The ARPA Commission came out of HB632 in the last legislative session. It was set up as a Montana Legislative commission to review the application for ARPA funds coming to Montana. It gave Montana the input on the spending of the funds coming to Montana.
Whether you agree or disagree with the funds coming to Montana, they are here and this Commission is Montanans rather than the Feds. controlling the spending.
Rep. Denley M. Loge, R-St. Regis