The Mountain Line, Missoula's bus service, will be asking citizens for more money during the upcomming November election. Mountain Line General Manager Michael Tree says the bus system hasn't asked for a mill levy since it began.

"For the first time since 1976, over 35 years, the board of directors of the urban transportation district have announced a mill levy request in November," said Tree. "The mill levy request is necessary to make some improvements in Mountian Line."

The mill levy will nearly double the amount of money directed at the bus system, Tree explains exactly how much money is being requested.

"$1.7 million annually," Tree said. "That goes to fund additional service for seniors and people with disabilities. It funds bus service on four popular routes till 9:50 in the evening. It also increases the bus frequency on two high use routes so those routes have shorter wait times."

The routes that will get a time extension are routes one, two, six and seven all of which end around 7:00 p.m. currently. These routes touch the university, Southgate Mall, downtown Missoula and St.Pat's Hospital.

Tree says the current Curb to Curb program is at full capacity. This program is what is used to bring individuals that are elderly or handicapped from their homes to bus locations. Tree says that about 20,000 passengers use the service now, but with out the extra money, it is possible that Mountain Line will have to deny new requests for Curb to Curb transportation.

Routes 2 and 6 will not only be getting later hours if the mill levy passes, they will be the routes that receive more frequent buses as well. Route two runs from southgate mall to downtown Missoula and route six does as well, but also jots over near the North Reserve area.

For Missoulians with homes valued at 100,000 dollars, the new levy will cost taxpayers about $19 s more a year. Missoulain's with a 100,000 dollar home currently spend about $25 a year on the Mountain Line through taxes.

Michael Tree

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