2017 Montana Legislature
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HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 40
INTRODUCED BY A. OLSEN
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA REQUESTING AN INTERIM STUDY OF WAYS TO IMPROVE PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICE IN MONTANA; AND REQUIRING THAT THE FINAL RESULTS OF THE STUDY BE REPORTED TO THE 66TH LEGISLATURE.
WHEREAS, passenger rail and bus services provide mobility for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, students, tourists, and businesspeople; and
WHEREAS, some communities in Montana are poorly served by public transportation, and options for passenger transportation services in Montana continue to decline; and
WHEREAS, IF STATE SERVICES ARE UNAVAILABLE MANY MONTANANS NEED LOCAL, TRIBAL, OR COUNTY TRANSPORTATION SERVICES FOR HELP GETTING TO APPOINTMENTS FOR MEDICAL OR OTHER PHYSICAL NEEDS; AND
WHEREAS, Amtrak's North Coast Hiawatha ceased operation through southern Montana in 1979, and transportation to and from the major population centers of southern Montana would be greatly enhanced by passenger rail service; and
WHEREAS, additional passenger transportation services will increase passenger transportation-related employment because of the need for upgraded infrastructure and operating personnel; and
WHEREAS, tourism is Montana's second-largest industry and would be enhanced by improved passenger transportation services; and
WHEREAS, the Empire Builder is one of the most popular long-distance passenger trains in the United States, and is greatly needed for the citizens of Montana's Hi-Line who have limited public transportation options, but is challenged by lack of rail capacity causing frequent delays; and
WHEREAS, there is currently no board or commission within the state of Montana that is charged with the sole responsibility of overseeing and advocating for passenger transportation services, including passenger rail and passenger bus services; AND
WHEREAS, AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES MAY PROVIDE ONE OPTION FOR TRANSPORTATION NEEDS IN MONTANA IN THE FUTURE AND MORE STUDY IS NEEDED TO DETERMINE WHETHER LAWS NEED CHANGING TO ACCOMMODATE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES AND WHETHER POLICIES ARE NECESSARY TO ADDRESS SAFETY, LICENSING, AND OTHER ISSUES OF PUBLIC CONCERN.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the Legislative Council be requested to designate an appropriate interim committee, pursuant to section 5-5-217, MCA, or direct sufficient staff resources to investigate ways to improve passenger transportation services in Montana, including but not limited to the establishment of a passenger transportation commission AND A REVIEW OF LAWS THAT MAY NEED CHANGING TO ALLOW USE OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES AND PROVIDE FOR PUBLIC SAFETY.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if the study is assigned to staff, any findings or conclusions be presented to and reviewed by an appropriate committee designated by the Legislative Council.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all aspects of the study, including presentation and review requirements, be concluded prior to September 15, 2018.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the final results of the study, including any findings, conclusions, comments, or recommendations of the appropriate committee, be reported to the 66th Legislature.
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Latest Version of HJ 40 (HJ0040.02)
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