NBC Montana: Tester Talks Stimulus Dollars And More In Missoula

Missoula, Mont. — Senator Jon Tester toured Higgins Street in Missoula’s downtown Monday afternoon.

Missoula has been hit hard by the economic downturn. Smurfit-Stone shut its doors in January and laid off more than 400 lost their jobs. Unemployment hit 7.7%.

Since then it’s dropped a little to 7.2% but it remains the highest of the state’s three biggest cities.

Missoula’s Mayor John Engen knows Federal stimulus projects like the Higgins Streetscape has kept some working and brought money into the local economy. Engen knows Missoula couldn’t foot the $1.5 million bill spent on the Higgins Street Diet.

Senator Jon Tester also knows the stimulus funds have tried to bridge the gap for many communities hit hard by the recession. Tester says “It’s been positive all around. And it’s kept some people working that otherwise would’ve been out. And it’s created some jobs in the process. I can tell you this we were on the edge of a financial meltdown in september 2008, we were on the cusp of bad things happening so this thing, we’re not out of the woods yet, but I think the recovery act was a step in the right direction.”

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