Billings Awarded $11.6 Million in BUILD Funds to Construct the Inner Belt Loop and Skyline Trail!
The City of Billings has been awarded $11.6 million in federal BUILD grant funds to construct the Inner Belt Loop and Skyline Trail. Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant winners are selected yearly by the US Department of Transportation to facilitate the development of critical national roads, rails, ports, and transit.
Previously known as TIGER Discretionary Grants, Congress has dedicated nearly $7.9 billion to BUILD grant funding for projects that have significant local or regional impact. In 2020 the City of Billings applied for approximately $16.8 million in funding to complete the Inner Belt Loop, the Skyline Trail, and the Stagecoach Trail. While the City was not successful in receiving the full request, the US Department of Transportation allocated $11.6 million to fully construct the Inner Belt Loop and Skyline Trail.
This is a huge win for our community! The success of this application is thanks to the work of many people, including the city’s strategic partners: Billings TrailNet, the Billings Chamber of Commerce, Big Sky Economic Development Agency, Yellowstone County, Montana Department of Transportation, and especially Senator Daines, Senator Tester, and Representative Gianforte.
“This is the day we have been hoping and praying for for years,” said Mayor Cole. “The city can now get to work on building the iconic Skyline Trail on the Rimrocks overlooking our beautiful valley. The Inner Belt Loop will connect Billings Heights and West Billings to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion by Metra. None of this would have happened without the diehard support of our congressional delegation and community partners. They have our most sincere appreciation. Now let's build this!”
The BUILD grant allocation will be supplemented with $7 million in local funds from the City of Billings and an $85,000 donation from Billings TrailNet. In addition to improving safety, completion of these projects will:
• ENHANCE movement of goods, services and people;
• CREATE emergency route for Billings Heights and new economic development opportunities;
• STRENGTHEN multi-modal transportation infrastructure;
• INCREASE tourist and recreation economic activity;
• REDUCE travel time, congestion, and community’s carbon footprint;
• PROVIDE safe biking and pedestrian recreation and transit; and
• IMPROVE quality of life and livability of residents by increasing direct access to nature
and outdoor active recreation leading to better public health.
The city looks forward to working with US DOT on the successful completion of these
essential infrastructure projects!