Monday, September 06, 2010

Hans Riemer: Uniting Montgomery County for Improved Public Transportation

Following is a policy piece on transit released by council at-large candidate Hans Riemer's campaign.


Hans Riemer has focused his community involvement on supporting public transportation in Montgomery County. As vice-president of the Action Committee for Transit, Hans has fought to protect Metro funding, RideOn buses, and to build the Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway.

Hans will continue his leadership on public transportation as an At-large member of the County Council. His vision for a better future for Montgomery County is tied to improved transit options for residents. The key priorities that Hans will work on include:

1. Ensuring Metro is world class: Metro is the backbone of our economy in Montgomery County, and as it deteriorates, so does our quality of life. We must bring it back.

2. Light-rail Purple Line: I will be a leader for the Purple Line in state and federal funding processes.

3. The Corridor City Transitway: If the Federal money isn’t there, let’s find an affordable approach to get going now with this key project in the 270 corridor.

4. RideOn buses: Without RideOn, countless people will not be able to get to their jobs, schools, and families.

5. Rapid transit vehicle routes on our commuting corridors: Starting on Route 29 with feeder systems to support new jobs in the East County.

6. Priority for walkers and bikers, too: If it is easier to get into our job centers people will walk or bike.

These systems will all work together to provide real alternatives to driving for all our residents.

An inability to secure funding for transportation projects has stalled our efforts to plan sustainably by creating affordable housing and new jobs centered around mass transit. We need a Council that will fight tenaciously to get the Purple Line through the state and federal funding processes. The Purple Line was first proposed in the late 1980s, while the CCT was first proposed in the early 1970s---more than 35 years ago! How long do we really plan to wait? It is time for the County to take responsibility for getting the CCT built.

That will mean looking at financing mechanisms that don’t require waiting for a Federal approval process that could come in decades, if it ever comes at all.

Of course, in this economic climate every part of county government faces tight budget constraints. With strong regional and national competition for transit dollars, we cannot afford to be complacent. As Councilmember, Hans will work every day to reach out to our state and federal representatives to ensure we speak with one loud voice for local transit.

Hans’ ability to create alliances and work strategically has earned him the endorsement of the chair of our state delegation, Brian Feldman, the Chair of our Ways & Means Committee, Sheila Hixson, as well as Delegates Bill Frick, Tom Hucker, Karen Montgomery and Kirill Reznik, among others -- a diverse and county-wide roster of state leaders (for a complete list visit

Hans Riemer has been endorsed by the Sierra Club for his vision of Montgomery County — a network of tightly-knit, walkable, mixed-use communities interconnected by high quality transportation alternatives, including better transit, walking, and biking options. Sustainable growth, both socially and environmentally, is the only way our county can continue to be the great place to live in the future that it is today.