Thursday, May 23, 2024

Mountain Climber Commuters call for support

| May 6, 2024 4:25 PM

Dear Community Member, 

I am reaching out to members and businesses of the local communities to provide an update on the expansion of the service Mountain Climber provides. Our valley has grown immensely over the past four years and public transportation is no exception to feeling the effects of this growth. 

Recently, much time has been spent reevaluating how and where the expansion of transportation services would most benefit the residents of Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls. It is the goal of Mountain Climber to use its limited resources in a pragmatic and efficient manner. 

To better support the transportation needs of the valley, Mountain Climber staff, along with the Transportation Advisory Committee, have developed a proposal to increase service between the cities of Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls. This proposal will require the hiring of four additional full-time drivers, which would also increase the service provided within the three cities, especially Whitefish and Columbia Falls. 

It is important to note that no additional funding is needed from the county beyond the already voted (1) county mill levy. Primarily, Mountain Climber, Flathead County Public Transportation, is funded with federal funds passed through the Montana Department of Transportation. Along with the federal funds, the (1) county mill levy, additional funding is contributed from the cities of Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls, and Trans ADE, which are funds from the state generated by car rentals. 

Since we at Mountain Climber receive many requests for transportation between Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Glacier International Airport, I am requesting community members and business leaders to submit letters of support for putting expanded commuter services in place. The rising need for public transportation between Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Glacier International Airport can no longer be ignored, and I believe this additional service will be very beneficial to many in the Flathead Valley. 

Any letters of support are very much appreciated and would be valuable in the pursuit of County Commissioner approval, allowing Mountain Climber to proceed with its plans for expanded service. 

Support letters can be sent to me, Elizabeth Wood c/o Mountain Climber, 1333 Willow Glen Drive, Kalispell, Mt 59901; or emailed to me at Ph: 406-758-2130.

— Elizabeth Wood, Director, Mountain Climber Flathead County Public Transportation