“Mountain Line benefits us all” is our transit service’s tagline. As clean energy and environmental advocates, we couldn’t agree more.

Here’s why we love the benefits of Mountain Line to our community and why we urge you to join with us and others within our respective organizations - Climate Smart Missoula, MontPIRG and Montana Conservation Voters - and vote for the mill levy this election.

Mountain Line provides service at zero-fare, ensuring all Missoulians have access to safe, reliable transportation. With average annual ridership exceeding 1.5 million, this service helps employees get to work, students get to school, and keeps seniors and those with disabilities active and mobile, promoting a more equitable, healthier community.

Mountain Line values the importance of clean air for a healthy community and has recently committed to a zero-tailpipe-emissions fleet by 2035, with six electric buses already on the road and six more to come. Saying goodbye to dirty diesel fits with Missoula’s goals to reduce air pollution and our carbon footprint. And when we “ride the line” we take fewer car trips, reducing road and parking congestion throughout the Missoula Valley. Everyone wins!

This Mill levy is needed to expand our service and meet the needs of a growing community. The levy will pay for bus system improvements that support and strengthen the livability of Missoula, providing service later in the evenings, increasing hours on Saturday, and adding service on Sunday, helping all of us get to jobs, school, healthcare, recreation, and places of worship seven days and seven nights a week.

A robust transit system reduces the need for cars in the city and provides mobility for those unable to drive, or unable to afford the costs of owning a vehicle. Being able to live car-free, or to have one car instead of two in a family, frees up dollars that can be used for rent or a mortgage, significantly helping with the home affordability challenges we have today.

In addition, strengthening Mountain Line service is an investment into the existing urban area; supporting a more compact development pattern that offers lower cost urban services to residents and business without expanding development into the highly valued open lands around us.

Missoulians take pride in working together to shape our community’s future, maintaining and enhancing its vibrancy and diversity. Missoula is growing and changing, bringing economic vitality but also challenges to parts of our infrastructure. Roads get more crowded, congestion increases and air quality suffers with more cars on the roads. But if we work together to support Mountain Line, we’ll all benefit. No matter how you get around this town—bike, walk, bus, or drive—we’re all traveling around this town together.

If you’d like to find out what groups, businesses and individuals are supporting this effort and to add your endorsement, visit FriendsofMountainLine.org. You can learn more about the Mill Levy and have all your questions answered here.

Thanks for voting FOR the Mountain Line mill levy - on page 3 of your ballot!

Amy Cilimburg is a member of the Friends of Mountain Line Coalition and is the executive director of Climate Smart Missoula; Liz Albers is the executive director of MontPIRG; Dave Dittloff is the chair of the Missoula Chapter of Montana Conservation Voters

This Sustainable Missoula column is brought to you – via the Missoula Current – every week by Climate Smart Missoula and Home ReSource.

Sustainability Happenings

With COVID-19 community events have moved on-line or found creative outlets. Here we offer ideas about ways to stay involved in our community. If you like these offerings, consider signing up for Climate Smart’s eNewsletter here. And sign up for Home ReSource’s eNews via their homepage here.

October 10. Miles of Music Montana Area Music Association event this SATURDAY, 2-5pm along the Milwaukee Trail, featuring local, LIVE musicians between the Reserve St. Bridge and the Higgins Bridge. Missoula In Motion will highlight the Commuter Challenge and honor the Commuters of the Year at 4:30pm near the Boone and Crockett club. Walk, bike, bus to the event to win a raffle at Missoula In Motion’s table!

October 13, 20, 27. Montana PSC virtual Public Hearings on NorthWestern Energy's proposed coal purchase. 4 - 8 p.m. Pick your date! To learn more or participate, RSVP to the Sierra Club.

October 17. Rattlesnake Creek Revegetation. Sign up for a shift to dig willows for replanting.

October 17. Bee Hive Health & Winterization Workshop with Missoula Urban Demonstration Project. 10 am to noon. Info here.

October 21. How to Go Solar Happy Hour zoom panel with Climate Smart Missoula, Montana Renewable Energy Association & friends. 4pm. More info and zoom link here.

Through October. It’s farmer’s market season! The markets look different this year to protect public health, but both the Missoula Farmer’s Market (at the XXXXs) and the Clark Fork Market are happening. Check their websites for more details. CFAC also has a great list of local food resources for consumers.

Now through November 3. Work to elect climate leaders. And make sure you have a plan to vote!

Find more activities and events at Missoulaevents.net and on Montana Environmental Information Center’s Conservation Calendar.