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HRDC completes signature collection for Urban Transportation District in Gallatin County

UTD PIC .jpg
Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-12 19:31:02-05

Over the last couple of months, you may have seen people in yellow shirts asking questions around the Valley. That question is from HRDC which is asking voters around Gallatin County to create a new Urban Transportation District.

Andie Madsen moved from Portland to study at MSU and was worried about getting around when she moved here.

“Coming from another bus system that I really liked. I was really worried about getting here and there not being a good bus system, but I got here and there was and I was so happy,” says Madsen.

Madsen was pleasantly surprised with how well she has been able to get around town.

“I mainly use it to get to campus. So I do that almost every day even on the weekends and stuff,” says Madsen.

After Bozeman hit a population threshold of 50,000 people, HRDC kicked off a petition process to create a new Urban Transportation District in Gallatin County.

“We knew this was coming we'd been planning for it, and the census just really kind of pushed us,” says Sunshine Ross, HRDC’s Transportation Director.

In order to create the new district, they need 20% of voters who live in the district to sign on, which is about 13,000 voters, before it can make it on the ballot. Ross says they have collected nearly double the signatures needed.

“We feel pretty confident that we'll reach the number of signatures needed,” says Ross.

If this ballot question is put to voters and approved, the Urban Transportation District will be created.

“It’s just to form that district and that's really just to maintain the services,” says Ross

Ross says this won't be a vote to create a tax, but that may be a possibility in the future if approved and voters see a need.

"If in the future, we want to expand services, we will we might be asking if the community wants to invest,” says Ross.

While it may not be the big city transportation system that Madsen is used to, she's glad to have one that she can easily use.

“I like Bozeman’s because it's really timely. So I can kind of like playing on the regular schedule instead of being late to everything all the time,” says Madsen.

Next step, the Clerk Recorder has to verify all the signatures that were collected within 30 days. If that happens, it will make it onto the May ballot. The election will take place on May 2, 2023.