Montana faces big challenges on many of its critical transportation routes, including road and bridge deterioration, improving transit safety and handling more volume to support economic development, according to a report released Wednesday by a nonprofit group.
The ”Keep Moving Montana Forward” report by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based group founded in 1971, calls on the state to provide a well-kept, safe and efficient 21st century network of roads and bridges to support its residents and economic growth. It also says the state of Montana will need to invest more in its transportation system.
The state’s population, which as of July 1 was estimated at 1,122,867, has increased by 22% since 2000 and vehicle travel has increased 30% from 2000 to 2019, Rocky Moretti, director of policy and research for TRIP, said during a news conference.
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The study notes that nearly 214,000 full-time jobs in Montana in businesses such as tourism, retail, agriculture and manufacturing rely on a reliable and safe transportation safety network.
These workers earn about $7.3 billion in wages and contribute $1.3 billion in taxes.
The report includes a list of the state’s top