Montgomery Co. officials call on state to save Corridor Cities Transitway: ‘Put it back in the plan’

Montgomery County, Maryland’s long-planned Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) has hit a roadblock.

It’s not part of the state of Maryland’s Draft FY 2020-2025 Consolidated Transportation Program detailing the Transportation Department’s $15.3 billion six-year capital budget.

The CCT as planned would serve people in northern portions of Montgomery County with more than a dozen Bus Rapid Transit stations between Clarksburg and Shady Grove.

Hoping to get the project put back into the state’s funding plan, county leaders who gathered for a news conference acknowledged the CCT plan needs work — for the alignment of proposed routes, for example — but stressed the project’s overall importance.

“Put it back into the plan so we can then look at issues around the routes,” County Executive Marc Elrich said.

He said the county worked with the Maryland State Highway Administration last winter on the issue. “We worked on some alternatives and we presented them and we thought we had a better understanding, but now that understanding is undone,” Elrich said.

Touting the importance of the CCT to jobs and economic development, Elrich said the future of the science center in the Shady Grove area depends on the CCT for phase II of its development.

“It brings jobs. It makes us notable on the map of America we’re the No. 4 [science] center in the country despite not having a research lab attached to it. This is an important part of our economy,” Elrich said. “It is not simply a local road/local transportation project.”

Could the county build the CCT independently?

“It would not be an easy thing to do,” Erlich said. “This would be a large project. It’d be better if we did it in partnership.”

It’s unclear how much the project would cost. Elrich said projected costs depend on whom you talk to; he’s seen estimates ranging between $400 million and $800 million.

Other officials at a news conference stressed the importance of offering commuters options that don’t involve them getting into cars.

“When a public transportation node is built within a half-mile of someone’s house, they’re five times as likely to take that system,” said Montgomery County Council Evan Glass.

Taking the CCT off the map will strand hundreds of thousands of people who live “up county,” Glass said.

“We cannot accept that for the economic mobility of our residents and for the economic development of Montgomery County’s future,” he said.

State officials are visiting every Maryland county to get feedback on the draft of a five year plan for transportation funding before they prepare a final budget to submit to the General Assembly in January.

The tour comes to Montgomery County on Monday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. It will take place at the county office building on Maryland Avenue in Rockville, in the third floor hearing room 100.

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