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Voters approve transportation district for bus, van service in Gallatin County

The Streamline bus operates four Bozeman routes and weekday service to Belgrade.
HRDC / Streamline
The Streamline bus operates four Bozeman routes and weekday service to Belgrade.

Gallatin Valley residents voted in favor of creating an urban transportation district that sets up a structure for continued federal funding and future expansion of local bus service.

Unofficial results released around 10 p.m. on Tuesday showed 79% of votes in favor of forming the transportation district, which includes Bozeman, Belgrade, Three Forks, and areas in between.

The need for a transportation district is a result of Bozeman’s growing population, which reached 50,000 in the 2020 census. This triggered a change that bars the nonprofit Human Resource Development Council from receiving federal transportation funds and shifts the recipient to a local government or transportation district.

HRDC CEO Heather Grenier says Streamline bus and Galavan paratransit services will continue as normal during the two years it will take to transition.

“There will be no immediate change. There will be change over time. But, what we’ve secured is the pathway forward to keep the federal funding we have in our community and to keep those services on the ground and then build out future capacity,” she said.

The formation of the Gallatin Valley Urban Transportation district will not impact taxpayers, but the new transportation board could decide to put a mill levy on the ballot in the future to expand transportation in the region.

Olivia Weitz covers Bozeman and surrounding communities in Southwest Montana for Yellowstone Public Radio. She has reported for Northwest News Network and Boise State Public Radio and previously worked at a daily print newspaper. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom Story Workshop.