The Transportation Interim Committee continues to track implementation of the federal REAL ID Act in Montana as well as keeping up-to-date on issues ranging from bicycle and pedestrian path funding to the use of de-icers on Montana's roadways.

The committee met Monday, January 13 in conjunction with Legislative Week and heard from a variety of transportation stakeholders and agencies.

The Department of Justice’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) provided an update on Montana’s compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. In January 2019, MVD began issuing compliant credentials for Montanans who choose to obtain them. Previously, Montana received two year-long extensions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for REAL ID implementation. In 2019, MVD issued 203,319 total credentials, of those 43,000 were REAL ID compliant cards.

Federal agencies and the Transportation Security Administration will continue to accept valid Montana driver licenses and ID cards to board domestic commercial flights and access secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020. Beginning October 2020, only Montana licenses and ID cards that are REAL ID compliant will be accepted to board domestic commercial flights or enter secure federal facilities.

During the January meeting, the committee also discussed the use of chloride-based liquid de-icers on public highways and impacts to the environment and vehicles. In the last three winter seasons, Montana has used an average of 37,262 tons of chloride. The Montana Legislature has in the past examined legislation to potentially reduce the use of chloride-based de-icers.

Work on House Joint Resolution 45, a study of bicycle and pedestrian pathways in Montana, included a presentation of MDT’s 2019 Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan. The 20-year plan is built on five goals: reducing pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities; educating, encouraging, and promoting safe and responsible travel; preserving and maintaining bike and pedestrian systems; improving mobility and accessibility for all; and supporting walking and biking as important transportation modes. Montana is one of five states that allows bicycles on all public roads. There are 73,567 miles open to public travel. One of the biggest challenges for preserving the existing infrastructure and expanding the system is funding.

The committee also continues to explore transportation accessibility issues in Montana, with a presentation at the meeting from the Montana Independent Living Project. In March, the committee will invite additional speakers to discuss community planning and standards for accessibility.

For materials presented at the meeting or to listen to the audio minutes of the meeting, visit the committee website. For questions, contact committee staff.

Committee Website:

Committee Staff: Sonja Nowakowski, or 406-444-3078

The Legislative News.