A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow Montana municipalities to issue revenue bonds backed by local gas taxes to fund transportation projects.

“We need train service in western Montana — and probably all of Montana,” said Rep. Ron Erickson, D-Missoula.

The western part of Montana has freight rail service, and a public-private partnership might be able to add passenger service for Missoula and its bedroom communities if lawmakers provide a method of public funding, he said.

Republican legislative leaders have killed the bill before, but Erickson said the strong prospect of a Democratic takeover of the Montana House in November gives him more confidence that his proposal may pass this year.

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