Prepared by the Missoula Urban Transportation District
Last updated on September 19, 2013
Q: Why is the Missoula Urban Transportation District (MUTD) at this time asking for an increase in the mill levy that funds Mountain Line?
A: In 2012, Mountain Line underwent an extensive community planning process, which included several public meetings and opportunities for public participation and comment. The process indicated a community desire for improved bus services, including late evening bus hours, more frequent bus service, and increased service for seniors and people with disabilities.
Q: What specific bus service improvements will Mountain Line provide if voters approve the funding request?
A: If approved, the specific improvements to bus service will be:
1.) Bus service is extended until 9:50 p.m. on routes 1, 2, 6, & 7, the four most popular bus routes in the system. Smaller buses will operate the late evening service on an hourly frequency.
2.) Route 2 will operate on a 15-minute all day frequency (Bolt service) and will be interlined with the Route 1. Route 6 will operate between the Downtown Transfer Center, Southgate Mall, and Community Medical Center on a 30-minute all day frequency.
3.) Additional curb-to-curb van service for seniors and people with disabilities will be provided. Currently, the curb-to-curb service for seniors and people with disabilities is at capacity. This important increase in service will avoid future trip denials.
Q: How much will the mill levy increase cost homeowners?
A: The levy will increase by 14.5 mills, and raise approximately $1.7 million. The annual cost in property taxes will be approximately $19 on a home valued at $100,000 or $38 on a $200,000 home.
Q: When was the last time Mountain Line placed a mill levy increase on the ballot?
A: In 1976, Missoula voters created MUTD and established a mill levy for the purpose of operating Mountain Line, which opened its doors in December of 1977. MUTD has not placed a mill levy increase on the ballot since its formation more than 35 years ago.
Q: How does Mountain Line benefit the whole community, even those who do not ride the bus?
A: Mountain Line benefits the whole community by reducing the number of car trips, which helps reduce air pollution, traffic and parking congestion. Mountain Line also provides special trolley service to downtown events, and free rides on poor air quality days, which helps reduce air pollution levels in the Missoula valley.
Q: How many passengers does Mountain Line transport?
A: In fiscal year 2012, Mountain Line broke its previous record by providing 943,809 rides. In the last 35 years Mountain Line has given more than 22 million rides.
Q: What are the special services Mountain Line provides for seniors and folks with disabilities?
A: In addition to regular bus routes, Mountain Line also operates “curb-to-curb” service for seniors and people with disabilities. This essential service ensures that all residents in the District who are seniors and persons with disabilities have transportation to doctors appointments, grocery shopping, and other important trips.
Q: Does Missoula really have the demand to warrant an increase in bus service?
A: Mountain Line has seen strong ridership over the past three years, with nearly one million rides provided in fiscal year 2012. This year ridership on Mountain Line’s specialized transportation services for senior and people with disabilities is up 18 percent.
Q: What role does Mountain Line play in the development of the city?
A: An affordable, easy-to-use public transit system is vital to a robust economy and a prosperous community. Public transportation ensures employees can get to work and customers can get to local businesses. And when companies look to expand or relocate, their lists of wants often include quality public transportation. Furthermore, a 2012 study by the Montana Department of Transportation indicated that Mountain Line generates approximately 63 jobs in Western Montana and produces more than $2.3 million in income and GDP for the area.
Q: In recent past Route 10 was eliminated and Route 9 service was reduced to peak times only. Does the MUTD have plans to restore these services?
A: In 2012, the community planning process that resulted in the creation of the Short and Long Range Plans for Mountain Line favored a “focus inward” emphasis, which is complementary to Missoula’s overall land use and transportation vision. The results of the “focus inward” vision will be a highly walkable and transit-friendly urban core to serve the area where most people live, work and play.
In moving toward this vision the MUTD reduced, and in some cases, eliminated Mountain Line bus service in areas where fixed route service could not be supported. To assist those who desired public transportation along the former Route 10 corridor, the MUTD created a vanpool and is looking to add additional vanpools as demand warrants. In the future, the agency will continue to evaluate growth within the MUTD and will look to provide fixed route services where it can be supported.
Q: Who will be able to vote on the mill levy that is required to maintain and improve Mountain Line services?
A: According to the County Voter Registrar Office, all residents registered to vote who live within the MUTD are eligible to vote on the MUTD referendum. A map of the properties within the MUTD can be found at www.mountainline.com. The ballots will be mailed out to registered voters on October 21st. They must be returned to the Elections Office by 8 p.m. on November 5th (Elections Day).
At Mountain Line we are here to help. If you have questions or need more information please contact the Mountain Line General Manager:
Michael Tree: 543-8386, firstname.lastname@example.org.