Thursday, February 24, 2011

Marc Elrich's Rapid Transit Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

I wanted you to be aware of progress on my proposal for a countywide Bus Rapid Transit system. I will be part of a Transit Task Force, appointed by County Executive Ike Leggett, tasked with the mission of making a countywide transit system a reality. The Task Force will look at implementation and financing issues for a countywide system.

The significance of this newly-appointed Task Force is that we will go beyond studying traffic and transportation problems in our County. We already know there is a problem. We know that we sit in traffic too long and that we need better transit to travel around the County. This task force is designed to help solve the problem.

As you may know, for the past four years, I have been exploring the idea of a countywide rapid transit system to address our congested roads and reduce pollution. After numerous conversations with transportation and planning experts, visits to similar systems and reviewing countless pages of transportation manuals, I developed a proposal for a 120-mile system that would take people from where they live to where they work, study and play. My proposal is currently being studied by county transportation planners and outside consultants and that report should be due out in the coming months.

The transit vehicles would travel in their own dedicated guideways in existing right-of-way; this means that the transit vehicles will not be stuck in traffic. Transit that uses guideways is relatively inexpensive to build. Additionally, the guideways use minimal paving because the center areas of the guideways can be grass and used to handle stormwater.

This proposal is a win-win-win for residents, environmentalists and developers. It’s the only solution that allows our County to grow in a sustainable way: it provides reliable and efficient public transportation that will convince people to leave their cars at home, thereby reducing air pollution, and it allows reasonable development near established neighborhoods without flooding the surrounding communities in traffic.

This BRT system has been recognized as a critical transit solution by the Montgomery County Planning Board and by the County Council in their recent letters regarding state transportation priorities for our county.

I thank the County Executive for recognizing the need to move this proposal forward via this Task Force. I look forward to working with the members of the Task Force and residents of this County on this important issue. My staff and I are always willing to come to your civic organization or other group to further discuss this proposal with you. Please contact us via e-mail, or phone 240-777-7966, to schedule a time to meet or for additional information. You may also visit my website for more information about this proposal.


Marc Elrich
Councilmember At-Large