It’s time to build southwest Montana veterans home



By Sen. Jon Sesso, D-Butte

For all the veterans in southwest Montana, the wait has been long enough. It’s time to get their new residential home built in Butte, and this past week, House Bill 493 was introduced to get construction started.

What’s the idea? House Bill 493 (Rep. Ryan Lynch) would authorize the state to secure a short-term loan from the Montana Facility Finance Authority to cover the 65-percent federal share to build the facility.

This bridge-financing makes economic sense: With low interest rates available, loan costs will be less than the increased construction costs due to inflation, especially if it takes another two or three years to secure the federal share.

As we’ve reported for a few years now federal funding for the vets home has been stalled on the priority list at the Veterans Administration. It was 2011 when Montana’s project made the list – a big deal and good news because once a project is on that list, federal funding is permanently authorized. Since then, however, Montana’s project has been repeatedly ranked too low on that list to be funded.

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