Livingston could finalize possible solution to 70-year-old rail crossing problem

Train passes over the underpass connecting Main Street and B Street in Livingston, Montana.

LIVINGSTON- The city of Livingston will meet July 9, 2020, to gauge public interest and possibly finalize a proposal for a self-funded railroad crossing.

The rail community meeting starts at 5 p.m. and will allow for only 50 people due to COVID-19 guidelines in the Shane Center Ballroom at The Shane Lalani Center for the Arts.

A presentation will be given by Michael Kardoes, the city manager of Livingston, and will be followed by a question and answer session from the public.

The city commissioners will have the final say on whether or not the proposal would be included on a ballot in November to resolve safety and traffic issues surrounding the current crossings.

Livingston is divided into a north end and a south end by the railroad and currently only features three different ways of crossing.

One crossing is an underpass connecting Main Street and B Street, but the other two crossings at Old Clyde Park Road and 5th Street make drivers cross the tracks.

According to the city manager, Livingston sees more than 20 trains pass through each day which causes safety and traffic problems during the morning and evening rush hours.

In 1977 talks began on how to resolve the issue but have stalled due to funding.

The most recent decision by the city commission came in 2018 when they voted to pause a proposed $17.5 million project for community input.

Kardoes hopes the city hears more public opinion on a possible property tax increase to self-fund the rail crossing improvements.

“Mill levy is the main one that’s going to be the primary source of funding for the project,” Kardoes said. “We also would probably do some special improvement districts for those neighborhoods in the northside that would benefit from it the most.”

The city manager stressed that the project is more than just about traffic as the rail crossing would allow for the expansion of other roads and transportation beyond the crossing.

 More information on the meeting can be found here. To reserve your seat at the meeting, the city asks that you sign up using their calendar found here.

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