The Montana Transportation Department said on Wednesday that it would shut down its Montana Transportation Services (MTTS) and Montana Transit Transportation Services LLC companies, which operate the Montana Transit Authority’s commuter rail and bus services.
The MTTS and MTTS LLC will be sold to private investors and will be owned and operated by a third-party.
Montana Transportation Director Chris Kratz said the state would end the use of its commuter rail service, and MTTT will be shut down by mid-February, though the state is still offering a commuter rail option through its Intercity Transportation program.
The company will operate a bus service through the Montana Transportation Service, which operates the Tri-State Transit System, the Montana State Highway Patrol, the State Police, the Bureau of Land Management and the Montana Department of Transportation.
Kratzer said the private investors will take over MTTS operations through an internal, “private partnership.”
MTTS is Montana’s only commuter rail line and serves nearly 60,000 riders a day.
The private investor will take on the remaining commuter rail operations and operate a new commuter rail network, Kratzu said.
The $2.6 billion private investment will be completed by the end of March.
MTTS had been operating the Montana Tri-state Transit System for more than 20 years.
It began operating the Tri State Transit System in 2000.
It was the only state agency in Montana to have a regional rail service and operated commuter rail to and from the Twin Falls area.
The new private investors plan to expand and modernize MTTS.
The transit agency operates Tri-County Transit (TCT) in northern Montana and the Twin Lakes Region, and it also operates TriWest Transit (TriW) in southern Montana.
Montana has operated a commuter railroad to and through a remote community of Pine Ridge for decades, but the state shut down the service after the 2015 closure of the Pine Ridge Crossing Express.
The federal government closed the crossing to vehicles after the fire that ravaged the facility in 2015.
The service is now operating through the Twin Rivers Valley, where it runs through a small town called Tule Lake, and into the town of White Lake.
Montana State Parks Superintendent Chris Ralston said the closure of MTTS will result in about 20,000 to 30,000 people in the Twin Bridges and White Lakes communities losing access to commuter rail services.
“I think that’s going to be devastating to the communities and people who rely on that service,” Ralstein said.
“It’s not going to make it possible for people to get to the town.”
Ralstone said the government has been talking to the public about the need for commuter rail in the region.
The Twin Bridges region is about 70 percent rural and 30 percent suburban, according to a 2016 study commissioned by the Montana Public Service Commission.
Ralsten said that means that there are not enough riders to justify a commuter train system, and the service will not be available to the population of the Twin Cities and Tri-Cities.
“We’re looking at a very, very limited number of people that are going to use the service,” he said.
TMT and MTTC operated commuter trains for about 20 years, but it took a toll on the communities, Ralstal said.
MTTC and MTTI were both owned by the same company until late 2016.
That company, Translink, is owned by TransCanada, the company that owns the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Translink had planned to close its commuter lines in 2018 and 2019, but its owner, Canadian company Enbridge Inc., stepped in.
The decision to close the commuter rail routes was based on Enbridge’s inability to complete construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which would have been the main project in the company’s plans to build a pipeline from Alberta to Texas.
The TransCanada deal had been in the works for a while, but Enbridge and TransCanada had fought to complete the project.
In 2018, Enbridge agreed to a $2 billion settlement to settle claims by environmental groups, local officials and the U.S. Department of Justice that it had contaminated an area of Montana with lead and other hazardous chemicals during construction of its Keystone XL pipeline in 2016.
A Montana judge approved the settlement in April 2019, and Enbridge began to complete a new Keystone XL route from Alberta.
A second pipeline, the Trans Mountain Pipeline, is also planned to run from Alberta through British Columbia.
Kropotkin’s idea of public ownership is different than the private ownership of transit companies, said David Hough, a professor of government and law at George Washington University.
Public ownership is not necessarily a better system than private ownership.
Public transit is a good system because it does things that private companies can’t do.
It provides transportation to people.
Public transportation provides the infrastructure for the rest of society.
Public transport provides the roads and