Missoula’s Mountain Line to Get New Home for Electric Buses
Leaders of Missoula's Mountain Line transit system are celebrating today after news that the agency has been awarded one of the largest upgrades ever since buses first started to roll over 45 years ago.
Word came from U.S. Senator Jon Tester's office Wednesday that Mountain Line is getting more than $39 million to pay for the construction of a new Maintenance and Operation Base for the Missoula Urban Transportation District.
The money comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Tester says the money will help Mountain Line meet "zero emission" goals
While Mountain Line has been successful in upgrading much of its fleet to electric buses over the past 5-years, the agency was still concerned about how it could efficiently manage the new fleet, while coping with the growth in ridership based out of an aging facility on Missoula's north side.
The upgrade should also help with Missoula traffic volumes
"If communities are able to be supported to have good bus service out there, it does a lot of things. It's more affordable. It takes some cars off the road so you get that infrastructure to perform a little better. And quite honestly, is a little more user-friendly because people on the bus can actually work while they're going to work," Tester told me during a press call Thursday morning.
"Mountain Line is thrilled to get this vote of confidence from the FTA," says Corey Aldridge, CEO and General Manager of Mountain Line. "Our biggest need right now is a new facility to better serve a rapidly growing Missoula—and this funding will allow us to fulfill that need."
Tester notes the new center will not only help all of Mountain Line's operations but will help individuals and businesses in the years to come.
"It takes money to have buses and places where they can connect through and places to store them, and upkeep on them. And so that's what it was about. It's about making sure that, in this case, Missoula can continue to provide public transportation in a way that makes sense for Missoula's public."
"Efficiency is always critically important. How we spend taxpayer dollars is really important. And if we can increase efficiency that also increases connectivity. And whether you're talking about high-speed internet or jumping on a bus, that's all about people connecting with people."
We expect to hear more from Mountain Line on plans for the new center in the coming weeks.