Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) Missoula County commissioners on Tuesday reappointed Dave Strohmaier to serve as the county's representative on the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority.

Commissioner Strohmaier spearhead the authority's formation back in 2019 and was appointed chair of the authority's board upon the selection of officers in 2021.

His term was set to expire next month, though commissioner reappointed him to a new three-year term.

“Tough decision,” commissioner Josh Slotnick said in jest.

In the two years since forming, the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority has grown to include member counties stretching 600 miles from Montana's western and eastern boarders.

The counties lie along the old North Coast Hiawatha route, where advocates hope to restore passenger rail in the coming years.

The organization has made headway in recent years and strongly believes that a pending federal study on recommended routes where passenger rail should be restored will include the North Coast Hiawatha.

Strohmaier has visited Washington, D.C. to speak with federal transportation and rail officials regarding the route's restoration. He remains confident that the route will again be brought online.

“Let's keep the train running,” Strohmaier said of his reappointment.