Commissioner Dave Strohmaier will represent Missoula County on the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority as the board comes together and picks up official business.
County commissioners on Thursday appointed Strohmaier to the position, calling him the obvious choice. Strohmaier has taken a leading role in spearheading efforts to launch the rail authority in a push to restore passenger service to southern Montana.
“He’s gotten us to this point and all the great work he’s done creating a huge amount of momentum getting counties across the state to sign on to what’s one of the more positive and exiting things this year,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick.
Once established, the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority will establish the governance to seek and accept funding for passenger service.
It will also work with the state’s congressional delegation and transportation officials to implement inter-city rail service across Montana’s southern tier.
“I look forward in serving in this role for the next three years to get this thing off the ground,” Strohmaier said on Thursday. “We’re the second county to have an appointment after Gallatin County.”
The steady tide of Montana counties joining the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority increased to five last week, and several more are likely to join later this month.
Gallatin County was the first to adopt the resolution in late July, followed days later by Missoula County. Butte-Silver Bow County followed, as has Park and Broadwater counties.
Each participating county will appoint one representative to the rail authority. Gallatin County has already done so and the other participants will follow.
“Commissioners Slotnick and (Juanita) Vero decided it would be good moving forward on the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority for it to be a commissioner, at least for this initial appointment,” said Dori Browlow, director of development for the county. “Possibly down the road the commission would decide something different.”