Monday, November 09, 2009

Andrews: Widen I-270, BRT for CCT

County Council President Phil Andrews, who represents Rockville and Gaithersburg, has issued a memo explaining his support for adding two reversible lanes to I-270 and constructing the CCT as bus rapid transit.

Andrews favors adding two reversible lanes to I-270 that would be restricted to carpools, buses, motorcycles and drivers paying a congestion-priced toll. His rationale is that adding two lanes rather than four would save hundreds of millions of dollars and reduce adverse impacts of the project. He favors BRT on the CCT because of lower cost, greater federal competitiveness and the fact that high density in Gaithersburg West, which he opposes, would be necessary to make light rail cost effective.

Two months ago, we identified Andrews as the key voice on the I-270 debate. The fact that he represents a district that is home to much of the I-270 project, the CCT and the Gaithersburg West master plan combined with his previous opposition to the ICC and refusal to take developer contributions makes him difficult for road opponents to target. Now that Andrews has come out in favor of a build option for I-270, the County Council seems likely to debate competing build options rather than arguing over build vs. no-build. The council is scheduled to vote on a recommendation for both I-270 and the CCT tomorrow.

We reprint Andrews' memo to the rest of the council below.