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Community leaders want levy to support bus services

By Emily Adamson, KECI Reporter, eadamson@keci.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 01:17:07 AM MST
Updated On: Aug 15 2013 06:11:34 PM MDT
MOUTAIN LINE LEVY
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Community leaders launched a committee to support a mill levy request for Missoula's community bus system.

'Friends of Mountain Line' is pushing to pass a mill levy that would increase funds for the Mountain Line bus system. If approved buses could extend service later into the evening, increase bus frequency on busy routes and help provide more curbside assistance for seniors and people with disabilities.

“It should go without saying that a bus system probably shouldn't stop at five or six o'clock. With this mill levy it won't,” said Missoula Mayor John Engen, who serves as treasurer for the group.

Engen was just one of several community members who spoke at Thursday’s event. Other supporters included representatives from the Missoula Downtown Association, Community Medical Center and the University of Montana public transportation office.

“We have 1,200 employees and many volunteers who could ride the bus if it ran later in the evening,” said Community Medical Center’s Vice President of Planning and Marketing Mary Windecker. “Especially as a 24/7 shop we have people coming at various times of the day. We're not an 8 to 5 business.”

“Often times owning a car can compete with tuition, so by not having to have a car students are much more flexible in their ability to afford higher education,” said UM’s Topher Williams.

This November will mark the first time since 1976 the bus service has asked voters to increase property tax.

For more on the mill levy click here.