All aboard!

That was the call to over 500 viewers on ZOOM for the Montana Passenger Rail Summit hosted by Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier, Missoula City Councilor Jordan Hess and State Legislator Andrea Olson.

“Back in the earlier part of this year when we started planning this, we had no idea that we would be where we are at today,” said Commissioner Strohmaier. “But one of the silver linings in this virtual environment is that we are I believe, as of this morning, pushing 500 participants or registrants for this event.”

Strohmaier said there are many who believe that passenger rail must and should be an integral part of the state’s overall transportation system.

“Many of us who are involved in today's event and also promoting passenger rail here in the state of Montana truly believe that our existing passenger rail system and indeed an expanded passenger rail system ought to be a key component of our transportation portfolio for the 21st century,” he said.

State legislator Andrea Olson thanked the many participants around the country who appeared during the three hour ZOOM presentation.

“I really want to thank all of you who are participating today from Montana and beyond,” said Olson. “It's your interest in riding rail that drew you. My dad worked for the rail. Santa Claus came in on the train. And for me personally, and for many people I know who came to Montana on the train to go to college, it's an exciting time to believe that passenger rail will once again be an important part of Southern Montana's transportation system.”

Appearing on the ZOOM presentation included John Robert Smith and Beth Osborn with Transportation for America; Jim Matthews with the Rail Passenger Association and Justin Angle with the University of Montana School of Business.

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