Capital Crescent Trail tunnel weighed for Montgomery County budget

Montgomery County Council President Sidney Katz has heard what constituents want in the county’s $4.2 billion capital budget.

Top among the priorities are “pedestrian safety, the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel, the second entrance for the White Flint Metro and libraries, among many others,” Katz said.

The planned tunnel would take pedestrians and cyclists on the Capital Crescent Trail under Wisconsin Avenue/Route 355, and would be located near the planned Purple Line station.

Timothy Cupples, engineering division chief for the county’s Transportation Department, said the latest estimates put the cost of the tunnel at more than $50 million.

But estimates have been going up, he said, as the design and planning process reveals added costs connected with working within the space allowed for the tunnel’s design.

Katz said the County Council — which is beginning its review of the 2021 fiscal year budget this week — will consider the issue.

The tunnel would allow for “hundreds of thousands” crossings every year, council member Hans Riemer said in a statement to WTOP.

“We need to build it. I strongly support putting funding into the budget to pay for it,” Riemer said.

“Part of the concern, always, is you have X amount of dollars,” Katz said in a meeting with reporters — but there are a number of ways to spend those dollars.

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