Pillar 3: Build Upon Montana's Economic Foundation

As we reap the rewards of our resource-rich state, it is essential that we strive for long-term, sustainable growth and commit to making investments in our critical infrastructure needs.

In 1862, prospectors struck gold in Bannack. Montana’s “Eureka!” moment has lasted for 150 years. To this day, the Treasure State continues to produce incredible economic opportunities in farming, ranching, mining, forestry and the state’s latest opportunity – the Bakken energy boom in eastern Montana. Montana’s bountiful harvests and natural resources have built communities, created jobs, and driven economic growth and prosperity. However, we have learned over the last century and a half that these economic benefits do come at a price. As we reap the rewards of our resource-rich state, it is essential that we strive for long-term, sustainable growth and commit to making investments in our critical infrastructure needs.

In every corner of the state, Montanans named “quality of life” as one of our most important strengths for economic development. It is clear that we Montana’s cherish our outdoor heritage – hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, cycling. Life under the Big Sky is what keeps many of us here and attracts new businesses and workers seeking a better life for their families.

Eastern Montanans resoundingly called for support in community planning, transportation and housing infrastructure. Rural Montanans need upgraded and expanded telecommunications resources to allow businesses to compete in a 21st Century economy. Montana farmers and ranchers feed the world, and improving transportation for exports and value-added opportunities provide avenues for growth in agriculture, one of Montana’s foundational industries.

Montana’s natural resources and quality of life present an incredible boost to residents and businesses in every one of our 56 counties. We are committed to capitalizing on these assets through responsible, efficient and effective development policies. Working together, we can ensure our prosperity not only today, but for future generations of Montanans.

GOAL: Responsibly develop Montana’s natural resources for long-term economic growth

Objective: Promote Montana agricultural products by adding value and increasing the accessibility to local, national and international markets

Objective: Support responsible and sustainable natural resource development and extraction

Objective: Support development, expansion and exportation of renewable energy resources

Objective: Increase the number of forest management projects on National Forest Lands that produce commercial forest products, reduce wildfire risks, protect wildlife habitat, and protect Montana’s watersheds

Objective: Create jobs and improve Montana’s environment by cleaning up abandoned and/or polluted sites

GOAL: Ensure Montana businesses and communities have efficient and reliable infrastructure

Objective: Enhance broadband and telecommunications access across Montana

Objective: Address regional air, highway and rail transportation needs

Objective: Improve community planning and resources for community development and local infrastructure needs

GOAL: Protect Montana quality of life for this and future generations

Objective: Maintain the long-term viability of fish, wildlife, and cultural resources in order to provide abundant public opportunity for the enjoyment of Montana’s recreational amenities

Objective: Provide assistance and support to local community growth planning processes to ensure protection of high quality of life

Project Highlights

  • The Department of Commerce completed an interactive Energy & Infrastructure Map to assist private industry in siting decision.
  • The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and an Energy KIN subcommittee are working on revisions to the MT Facility Siting Act (MFSA) for the 2017 session to make it more workable for industry and the Department.
  • MT State University-Bozeman (MSU) received a grant from Western SARE for a 3 year beef to school project.  The project includes a case study analysis of 5 different school/producer relationships, supply chain analysis, development of education/outreach materials, and provides training.  Plans are to start visiting schools and meat processors this fall along with staff from the Department of Agriculture (AGR)
  • The Department of Commerce submitted a successful State of Montana Phase 1 grant application to HUD in March 2015, and was invited by HUD to participate in Phase 2.  Commerce submitted the State of Montana’s Phase 2 grant application on October 27, 2015, with a grant award request of $80.4 million to assist eight eligible communities in Montana.  The “Resilient Montana Program” will create a multi-disciplinary resiliency team of state agencies, private businesses, and non-profit organizations to assist communities develop a vision for local resiliency, identify and prioritize resilient infrastructure, housing, and economic development projects, and implement those projects.