“YES for Streamline” Campaign Kicks Off in Gallatin County
Citizens Will Vote on Urban Transportation District May 2
BOZEMAN — Community supporters on March 1 kicked off a campaign to form an Urban Transportation District (UTD) in Gallatin County.
The “YES for Streamline” campaign committee will work to get out the vote in support of the UTD, which is needed so Streamline can continue to receive federal transit funding.
“I’m proud to be part of this community effort,” YES for Streamline Campaign Treasurer Mitch Bradley said. “As a retired businessman, I know that public transit helps employees get to work and brings customers to our stores. People who can’t drive, or who don’t have access to a car depend on Streamline and Galavan to get to medical appointments, go shopping and connect with friends. Public transportation also helps free up parking and eases traffic congestion by helping to keep extra cars off the road.”
The UTD is needed to retain federal transportation funds due the tremendous population growth that’s occurred in the Gallatin Valley.
While the Gallatin Valley was formerly viewed as a “rural” area in the eyes of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), it is now considered a “small, urbanized area. This means FTA funds can no longer go directly to HRDC Streamline but must go administered by a local government or by a UTD.
HRDC CEO Heather Grenier said that a 2021 community report, a subsequent community survey, and stakeholder interviews all showed that community members support the creation of UTD as the best way to manage and fund Streamline.
“People like that a UTD is mission-specific,” Grenier said. “They view it as efficient in that it will be focused solely on operating the community’s bus and paratransit services. It also will help foster cooperation between our local governments - Bozeman, Belgrade and Gallatin County - rather than limiting oversight of public transit to just one of those entities.”
If approved by voters on May 2, the UTD would be managed by a board including appointed representatives from Gallatin County, City of Bozeman, City of Belgrade and other key stakeholders.
The proposed UTD will include all of Bozeman and Belgrade and areas between. Voters living within the proposed district must vote YES in order to create the UTD. Organizers submitted
over 16,166 valid signatures to surpass the required goal of 12,935 by 3,231 or 25% more than needed. The next step is approving the UTD in the May 2 election.
Bradley said YES of Streamline will be working hard over the next few months to build on the support shown by the petition drive and encourage people to vote YES and turn in their ballots. May 2 is the traditional school district elections day and this vote will be a Special Election as part of this vote-by-mail election.
Jaime Henriquez, a frequent Galavan rider and MSU student, also voiced support for YES for Streamline. Unable to drive himself to school, Jaime utilizes Galavan’s paratransit service several times a week to go to and from campus. On a recent bus ride, Jaime shared, “Galavan is the safest option, especially in the winter, and it always gets me where I need to go!”
Bradley said that approving the UTD is critical to preserving much-needed public transportation services in the Gallatin Valley.
The Streamline bus service operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and includes four Bozeman routes along with weekday commuter service to Belgrade.
Galavan, HRDC’s paratransit service, offers transport to veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities or injuries, on a flexible basis in Bozeman, Belgrade, Manhattan and Three Forks.
Voting YES for the UTD will allow these services to continue at their current level and is not an increase in taxes for Gallatin Valley residents, Bradley said.