The Missoula Redevelopment Agency will likely approve a request to provide matching funds to a federal grant to plan and design the future of the Brooks Street corridor.

The agency's board of commissioners was expected to consider the $50,000 contribution last week but postponed its decision until Thursday when it meets with Mountain Line, which also is expected to contribute $30,000 in matching funds.

The city last year received an $847,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to plan and engineer a range of improvements on Brooks Street, including better bike and pedestrian infrastructure and a bus rapid-transit system.

The city interviewed two consultants and selected HDR to oversee the project, in part due to its approach to public engagement, according to Marchesseault. But the original term provided by HRD came in over budget, she added.

“We have a finite budget. We tasked the HDR team with putting together a scope and a term for us. The first budget that came to us was higher than what we have money for. We've asked them to go back and we've worked with them on the must-haves to get this project completed. The nice-to-haves could be done in the second phase.”

HDR is expected to present its revised figure this week ahead of a joint meeting between MRA and Mountain Line. The transit agency will receive the federal grant though MRA will manage the project with HDR.

At their joint meeting, the two agencies will consider HDR's latest term and also approve providing their share in matching funds toward the project.

“We should be pretty close to the number,” Marchesseault said. “We really do need a number we can all finalize.”

The Missoula Redevelopment Agency in 2021 freed up funding to help determine the feasibility and design of a transit-oriented corridor running the length of Brooks Street.

As proposed, the bus rapid-transit system would use a center-running lane, enabling Mountain Line to launch 15-minute service without disrupting traffic in the heart of Midtown.

Improvements to the corridor's non-motorized infrastructure may also be part of the project. The need for such improvements have been identified in a separate Midtown Master Plan, which also is nearing completion.