Transformative $10.3 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant awarded to Big Sky Community.
Transportation and transit infrastructure challenges to be addressed as Big Sky prepares for future growth.
Good things come to those who wait.
On October 12, 2017 Big Sky, Montana applied to the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program offered through the US Department of Transportation (DOT).
On Wednesday, March 14, the Big Sky community and partner, Gallatin County, were awarded the approximately $10.3 million Federal TIGER Grant, which will provide Big Sky with the funds to improve rural infrastructure conditions and address challenges facing MT Hwy 64, and US Hwy 191.
According to the US Department of Transportation, the evaluation process is highly competitive and has high applicant interest. Projects are selected which emphasize improved access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for communities in rural areas.
Growth on the horizon for Big Sky
The Big Sky community is thrilled to receive the earlier-than-expected news that will help promote regional connectivity and facilitate economic growth and competitiveness in the area. According to project manager, David Kack, with Montana State University’s Western Transportation Institute, only about six percent of applicants receive the TIGER grant. The highly competitive grant positions Big Sky on the precipice of substantial social and economic growth.
The Big Sky Chamber played an integral role addressing transportation and transit infrastructure challenges on behalf of Big Sky community and spearheaded a data-driven proposal focused on building effective partnerships, long-term stability and showcasing both a vibrant vision and plan for the region. Initial funding for the study was acquired from the BSRAD Resort Tax Board and both Gallatin and Madison Counties adopted the results in their growth plans.
“We didn’t expect news until May so it came as a BIG surprise. The Big Sky Chamber was entrusted to be the catalyst in addressing the Transportation/Transit infrastructure challenge on behalf of the Big Sky Community dating back to the initial community forums in association with MSU’s Western Transportation Institute in January / February 2016. Today we are celebrating the POWER OF PARTNERSHIP, and its ability to create success for our community.”
– Candace Strauss, CEO
The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce
The Western Transportation Institute wrote the grant with additional analysis provided by Sanderson Stewart, and incremental private funding from many of the partners listed below:
- • Big Sky Chamber of Commerce
- • Big Sky Community Organization
- • Big Sky Resort Area District Tax Board
- • Big Sky Town Center
- • Big Sky Transportation District
- • Gallatin County
- • Lone Mountain Land Company
- • Madison County
- • Montana Department of Transportation
- • Sanderson Stewart
- • Western Transportation Institute (WTI) at Montana State University
Highway 64 — the only public way through Big Sky
The only public access to Big Sky is MT 64 (also known as Lone Mountain Trail), making the highway a true backbone of the community. The proposed transit improvements provide an example of an asset that if not improved, could threaten future transportation network efficiency, including the accessibility and mobility of people, and economic growth of the community. As tourism and job opportunity in the area continues to increase, the city’s success relies on well-managed and safe traffic flow for an increased number of vehicles and people on the roads. The grant will help fund:
- • the addition of turn lanes in high volume areas ease congestion and enhance safety
- • the addition of more busses and vans to the public transportation system for greater accessibility
- • the expansion of pedestrian trails and a pedestrian tunnel under the intersection of Hwy 64 and Little Coyote Road
- • the installation of wildlife signage and pullouts and related improvements to enhance road safety conditions
- • the improvement of safety for all forms of transportation
Benefits and improvements to Big Sky
Receiving the TIGER grant is momentous for Big Sky and provides an opportunity to deepen all levels of partnerships and interconnectivity within the community. The grant will elevate the unique local experience of Big Sky by improving road safety, effectively connecting the community to jobs, decreasing travel time, increasing safety for the people and wildlife of Big Sky, as well as supporting growth for the local economy. Not only will the proposed road improvements ensure economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability in the area, it will also improve the quality of life for the people of Big Sky community and those who have yet to visit and fall in love with the area.
If you’ve been thinking about making a move to Big Sky, now’s the time.