Thursday, July 30, 2009

MoCo and Frederick State Legislators Support Light Rail CCT, I-270 Toll Lanes

Eleven state legislators from Montgomery County and two state legislators from Frederick County signed a joint letter yesterday calling for light rail on the CCT and toll lanes on I-270. All of the legislators are Democrats except Frederick Senator Alex Mooney (R-3), who is a Republican, and Frederick Delegate Richard Weldon (I-3B), who is a former Republican and current Independent.

July 29, 2009

Mr. Russell Anderson, Project Manager
Maryland State Highway Administration
Project Management Division
707 North Calvert Street, Mail Stop C-301
Baltimore, MD 21202

Dear Mr. Anderson:

We are writing to express our fervent support for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT), which is our number one transportation priority, to stay on track for construction in 2012.

This project is shovel-ready with the right-of-way largely set aside. There is little or no opposition in the community with strong local business and government support. Compared to other mass transit projects, the overall costs are very modest. We urge creativity in financing, including a public/private partnership and a combination of federal, state, and local aid.

By providing a link between many communities - Clarksburg, Germantown, Gaithersburg, and Rockville - to the Shady Grove Metro Station, this project will benefit commuters in some of the fastest growing communities in both Montgomery and Frederick Counties and alleviate traffic congestion in the I-270 corridor. In addition, the CCT will play a vital role in the continued economic development of Montgomery and Frederick Counties and the state.

We believe that light rail should be the mode choice for the portion of the route from Shady Grove to Clarksburg. Economic development is more likely near light rail transit, and light rail promotes a more high quality transit-oriented development in burgeoning town centers. Studies have shown that more people choose to get out of their cars for light rail, as opposed to bus-rapid-transit (BRT). Light rail would have lower operational costs than BRT because, as demand increases, more rail cars can be added at no additional personnel cost. However, if BRT is the necessary choice due to Federal Transit Administration cost effectiveness requirements, then we urge that such BRT truly be a “rail on wheels” system, without compromising the advertised service level, speed, and quality.

Additionally, we support two Express Toll Lanes (ETLs), as a component of this project, to help reduce congestion on I-270. We also think that the Montgomery County Planning Board's recommendation of reversible lanes is worth further exploration, as it could alleviate traffic congestion while mitigating negative environmental impacts. These ETLs should be combined with general-purpose lanes without tolls, so that these new transportation facilities will be financed in large part by private investments.

We thank you in advance for your attention to these important matters.


Rob Garagiola
State Senator – District 15

Saqib Ali
Delegate – District 39

Charles E. Barkley
Delegate – District 39

Kumar P. Barve
Delegate – District 17

Kathleen Dumais
Delegate – District 15

Brian J. Feldman
Delegate – District 15

Jennie M. Forehand
Senator – District 17

James W. Gilchrist
Delegate – District 17

Nancy J. King
Senator – District 39

Alexander X. Mooney
Senator – District 3

Kirill Reznik
Delegate – District 39

Craig L. Rice
Delegate – District 15

Richard B. Weldon Jr.
Delegate – District 3B

cc: The Honorable Martin J. O’Malley, Governor
The Honorable Beverly Swaim-Staley, Maryland Department of Transportation, Acting Secretary