Tester Announces Nearly $6 Million in Transportation Investments for Missoula During Pandemic
Investments to provide operations funding for the Missoula Urban Transportation District
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $5,941,992 in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds for the Missoula Urban Transportation District. These funds were appropriated through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Montana’s transportation infrastructure is essential for the safety of folks in Missoula and also for the bottom line of Main Street businesses that power one of our state’s largest economies,” said Tester. “These funds are a critical investment that will help hard hit workers and state agencies keep the wolf away from the door and make sure infrastructure in rural America is not cast aside during this crisis.”
“Mountain Line is proud to have continued providing essential service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, helping keep our community going even during the height of the shutdown in Missoula,” said Corey Aldridge, General Manager of Mountain Line. “I am proud of our team for how quickly we adopted new safety measures and policies, from sanitizing our buses multiple times a day to mandatory masking since May. However, these new policies have a financial cost. The CARES Act funding is not only helping us offset immediate capital needs, but is allowing us to put safeguards in place so we can continue providing essential service as we head into an uncertain economic future.”
The funding Tester announced today will address immediate needs, including offsetting costs for software upgrades to help communicate fluctuating schedules to riders more efficiently. The funding will also support software for Mountain Line's ADA Paratransit service to increase messaging capabilities and make service more efficient and safer.
This investment is part of nearly $49 million in FTA funding for Montana secured by Tester from the $25 billion in federal transit grants in the CARES Act. The $48.9 million will be used to cover the operating expenses of transit agencies related to the response to coronavirus, including reimbursement for operating costs to maintain service, lost revenue, the purchase of personal protective equipment, and paying the administrative leave of operations personnel due to reductions in service.
Tester has worked tirelessly to ensure that Montana’s transportation infrastructure is not left behind during the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently urged the Trump Administration to provide robust assistance to the Airport Improvement Program and ensure local airports aren’t left behind in any new coronavirus aid packages. Additionally, he secured nearly $74 million for more than 70 airports across Montana to cover operational expenses and development projects during the crisis.