BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University has been chosen to lead a new national research center focused on improving rural transportation.
    
Montana U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester made the announcement Thursday.
    
The Democrat senators tell the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1dySAtF ) that the new Small Urban and Rural Livability Center will have a two-year, $4.2 million budget. That includes $2.8 million in federal grant money from the Research and Innovative Technology Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
    
The center will conduct research and education on expanding public transportation, creating safe routes for bicyclists and pedestrians, and improving access to regional transportation hubs.