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City of Bozeman adds Belgrade in forming metropolitan planning organization

MPO .jpg
Posted at 5:41 PM, Dec 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-20 19:41:07-05

BOZEMAN — As the City of Bozeman hit a population milestone of 50,000 people in the 2020 census, officials are now tasked with creating a regional planning organization that will focus on transportation. Their new partners are now with the City of Belgrade and Gallatin County.

“We’re required to create a metropolitan planning organization, and that's a regional planning organization that deals with transportation issues that has everything to do with transit, to roads, to trails, to shared use paths, etc.,” says Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham.

Bozeman and Gallatin County leaders added the City of Belgrade to the Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, as a way to plan ahead for the growth there as well.

“We really advocated for pulling in the city of Belgrade as well, because they're growing so quickly. And part of this kind of urban core of the valley,” says Gallatin County Commissioner Zach Brown.

The MPO would create a unified transportation plan, it could also help find funding for projects. Including more highway exits between Belgrade and Bozeman.

“One example is the Frontage Road to Valley Center Spur that goes underneath the interstate and across the railroad,” says Brown.

The MPO is separate from the urban transportation district that voters approved in 2022.

“Transportation district that the voters just created is an integral part of it. So, look at it as five partners: the city of Bozeman, downtown, the City of Belgrade, Montana Department of Transportation, and the Urban Transportation District,” says Cunningham.

Now that the county and the two cities have agreed to the MPO, it heads to the governor for his final approval.