Public transit and HRDC Streamline advocates testified in support of a proposed Urban Transportation District at the Gallatin County Commission meeting held earlier today.
Commissioners listened to the public comments on the UTD proposal before voting to place it on the May 2 special election ballot.
The hearing was required by Montana law. The commissioners voted to place the measure on the ballot after hearing from the public which is a required part of the process.
Several community members testified in support of the UTD including:
• Ellie Staley, executive director, Downtown Bozeman
• Scott Birkenbuel, CEO, Ability Montana
• David Kack, Big Sky Transportation District
• Mitch Bradley, retired Bozeman businessman
• Bruce Grubbs, retired, former state legislator and business owner
• Linda Sherwood, retired, Special Olympics volunteer, on Streamline advisory board
• Liz Aghbashian, Community Health Partners, Resource Coordination Manager
• Laurie Walker, Bozeman Health, System Manager of Community Health Improvement & Partnerships
• Jan Strout, co-leader, Bozeman for CEDAW Initiative
• Suzanne Winchester, Streamline founder and senior rider
• Greg Lynch, Forward Montana, development director
“Transportation is essential for people with disabilities and older adults to participate in society. It impacts access, access to health care, essential goods and services, interactions with friends and family, the ability to work and attend school, as well as a host of other activities,” CEO, Ability Montana Scott Birkenbuel said.
HRDC Streamline and public transportation advocates collected more than 28,000 voter signatures, more than twice the number needed, in support of creating the UTD. The Gallatin County Elections Office has confirmed that more than enough qualified voter signatures were gathered in order to place the UTD on the May 2 election ballot.
Forming a UTD will enable Streamline to continue receiving federal transportation funding now that our community has transitioned from being designated “rural” by the U.S. Federal Transportation Administration and is now categorized as a “small-urbanized area.”
The UTD will also enable Streamline to maintain its current level of service and position it for the future as our valley’s public transportation needs grow. The proposed UTD will include all of Bozeman and Belgrade and areas between.
An approval by voters on May 2 would allow the UTD to take over governance of Streamline on July 1.
Additional information about Streamline and information specific to the UTD can be found HERE. •