NBC Montana: Missoula receives $25 million for downtown project
MISSOULA, Mont. — A federal grant of $25 million dollars was given to Missoula to create safer streets for walking, biking, driving and public transportation in the downtown area.
The grant will go to Downtown-Safety-Mobility (Downtown SAM) overarching project which includes Front and Main Street two-way conversation, updating Higgins Avenue, Riverfront Trail Connections between Ryman Street and Kiwanis Park and downtown signal optimization.
“This is a big deal for downtown Missoula,” said Mayor Jordan Hess in a press release. “This grant allows us to replace and upgrade aging infrastructure, upgrade traffic signals, and improve safety. Our downtown infrastructure is old and worn out, and we’re setting the stage for the next several decades. None of this work would be possible without the tireless work of Senator Tester who led negotiations on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
The project is expected to take multiple years to complete.
The City of Missoula released the following information:
The City of Missoula is excited to move forward with a $25 million dollar Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant for the Downtown Safety, Access, and Mobility (SAM) project. Senator Jon Tester and Senator Steve Daines announced the grant award last week. It is one of the largest federal transportation grants ever received in Montana. The project will rebuild streets, modernize traffic signals, update streetlighting in the Downtown and improve access to our riverfront parks and trails.
“This is a big deal for downtown Missoula” says Mayor Jordan Hess. “This grant allows us to replace and upgrade aging infrastructure, upgrade traffic signals, and improve safety. Our downtown infrastructure is old and worn out, and we’re setting the stage for the next several decades. None of this work would be possible without the tireless work of Senator Tester who led negotiations on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
The project will take multiple years to complete. Staff expect to begin working on a grant agreement in the next few months, but the final engineering design and environmental review could take several years before construction is ready to begin. In a memo presented to City Council last week, City staff recommended steps to address public concerns, including formation of a Downtown SAM Advisory Committee.
“We’ve had great engagement over the past few months,” says Jeremy Keene, the City’s Director for Public Works and Mobility. “We are committed to continuing that dialogue and working with our partners to make this a great project for Downtown.”
Mayor Jordan Hess and City staff met with community members in a town hall meeting on May 9th to outline the City’s goals and hear feedback about the project. The City will continue to work with businesses, property owners, and residents to address specific concerns about the project design. Downtown SAM will create safer streets for walking, biking, driving, and public transportation; improve access and circulation for Downtown businesses, workers, residents, and visitors; create an inviting streetscape that showcases Downtown Missoula as a destination; and support economic health and investment in Downtown.
“This monumental grant award is the result of decades of hard work from the City, the Downtown business community, and many others who are committed to seeing our Downtown core continue to thrive,” says Aaron Wilson, the City’s Transportation Planning Manager. “We recognize that we would not be successful on a grant of this scale without the dedicated work of individuals, organizations like the Missoula Downtown Partnership and Missoula Economic Partnership, and visionary leaders.”