Missoula County raises $16M in pursuit of grant for Mullan-area transportation grid

A local push to win a large federal grant to complete a transportation grid west of Reserve Street has secured more than twice the required match, enabling Missoula County to submit its application come Monday.

Greg Robertson, the county’s director of public works, said city and county contributions, along with those from private landowners and utilities, brings the local match to $16 million, nearly half of the project’s $33 million total.

“The total project cost is $33 million and we’re at $16 million in match,” Robertson said Tuesday. “It’s a pretty good amount, and we’re required to carry 20 percent minimum, so we’re well over that.”

The county, which is leading the effort, plans to submit the application for a $15 million federal BUILD grant next month. The City Council placed its support behind the grant last month, and the state’s congressional delegation is backing the grant request.

Robertson said the county is contributing $1 million to the match through in-kind services, cash and funding from the Parks and Trails Bond. The city will contribute roughly $6.3 million through a combination of cash and impact fees.

Coupled with roughly $1.6 million in utility extensions and $6.3 million in rights of way, the local match has risen to nearly half of the project’s total.

“Some of it is donated right of way,” Robertson said. “We can use the fair market value for it. That’s the airport and some private property owners who are participating there.”

The project area is loosely bounded by Reserve Street and the airport, and Mullan Road and West Broadway. The area is poised for future growth, with projections calling for 2,900 new housing units and nearly 7,000 new jobs over the coming years.

While the project’s goals are far reaching, it would extend George Elmer Drive and Mary Jane Boulevard from Mullan Road north to West Broadway, creating two north-south connectors.

It would also extend England Boulevard further west, opening access to the airport, which has plans for light industrial development. Trail work, complete streets and infrastructure upgrades would also guide future growth and development in the area.

“The match makes our application a little more competitive than previous applications, but it’s a national competition, so the odds are about like everyone else,” Robertson said. “But the amount is fairly large as compared to previous times, so there’s going to be a lot more projects awarded.”

County: Mullan-area transportation project would ease congestion, guide development