Tester urges fellow leaders in Senate to extend the rural payment program | TSLN.com

Tester urges fellow leaders in Senate to extend the rural payment program

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on leaders of both parties to extend an important initiative that helps rural Montana counties fund essential services like schools, roads, and law enforcement.

Tester joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in urging Congress to reauthorize Secure Rural Schools (SRS), which allocates funds to rural counties based on historic timber sales. If the bill isn't reauthorized, rural Montana counties could lose millions of dollars in annual funding.

"SRS is a powerful tool for helping rural counties adequately fund their schools and keep their roads and communities safe," Tester said. "Congress must get its act together by the end of the year so folks across rural Montana aren't left with their hats in their hands."

In their letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the bipartisan group noted SRS has helped fund over 4,400 schools, road maintenance, law enforcement, and search and rescue projects, across the nation. Tester also pointed out that SRS is a critical lifeline to over 775 counties in over 40 states, including Montana.

If SRS isn't reauthorized, these critical services could experience more than an 80 percent drop in funds as federal payments revert to an older funding formula.

–Senator Tester