‘We’re dying up here’: Montgomery Co. transportation project in serious jeopardy

A long-planned transportation project that supporters say would cut traffic congestion and bring jobs to northern Montgomery County may be dead.

The proposed Corridor Cities Transitway, or CCT, is a 15-mile bus rapid transit line running between the Shady Grove Metro station and Clarksburg, with more than a dozen stations in between.

But the project, which has been in the works for over a decade, was removed from a draft of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s latest six-year capital budget for transportation projects.

“We’ve known for years that the project didn’t have any funding, but to be pulled completely out of the transportation plan was a low blow for us,” said Marilyn Balcombe, president of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce.

“There are commercial and residential developments that were planned around the stations, assuming that the stations would be built,” she added.

There’s another problem.

A master plan requires the CCT to be built before commercial development can move forward in the Great Seneca Science Corridor, an unincorporated area outside of Rockville and Gaithersburg that includes Adventist Shady Grove Hospital, Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County campus, the National Cancer Institute, and several biotech companies.

Balcombe said either the CCT has to be built, or the master plan must be changed.

Part of the proposed line would run parallel to Interstate 270 between the MARC station in Germantown and the COMSAT site in Clarksburg.

“We’re dying up here, in terms of traffic and congestion. I-270 is a mess,” said Balcombe. “So to pull a transit project without coming up with the alternatives is just really frustrating and disappointing.”

In a statement, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said the state is “abdicating its responsibility to provide critical infrastructure that will allow the burgeoning Great Seneca Science Corridor to thrive.”

“This industry and its workforce demand strong transit connections to the housing, educational, recreational, commercial and cultural resources of the metropolitan Washington region and the CCT provides this link,” Elrich added.

“We urge MDOT to reverse this decision before it finalizes its CTP and to re-establish a plan to move this project forward.”

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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