Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority is hopeful for the North Coast Hiawatha Passenger Rail

BILLINGS, Mont. - The Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority is gearing up to submit their first round of priority recommendations to the Federal Rail Administration (FRA).

This means the treasure state is on its way to perhaps having the north coast Hiawatha passenger rail line re-established after being closed for three decades.

We spoke with Dave Strohmeier, Chair of Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority and Missoula Commissioner, he said they will be sending recommendations to the FRA, who will then decide if the North Coast Passenger rail is eligible to reopen.

Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority, made up of  BNSF, MDT, Amtrak, three tribal nations and 20 member counties so far.

FRA will send their recommendations to congress who will then decide if money set aside from President Biden's 2021 Infrastructure Bill will restore railways across the nation.

"We have about four to five months here to do a full court press and again what's he value of counties in the state of Montana getting involved, if your county is going to be impacted by this route, well the value is again having a seat at the table and one of the evaluation criteria that will be examined is community involvement," said Dave.

Strohmaier says they are still waiting to hear from Yellowstone, Sweet Grass, Madison, Beaverhead, Deer Lodge, and Lewis and Clark counties.

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