“Removing mandatory parking minimums in locations with great access to transit is a common-sense fix,” said Carrie Kisicki, Montgomery Advocacy Manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “It complements our county’s investments in more frequent transit, protected bike lanes and bike sharing, and safer walking throughout the county.”
“Parking can be a shockingly large expense, and that expense gets passed on to residents in higher rents,” said Carrie Kisicki, the Montgomery advocacy manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth, an advocacy group that pushes for affordable housing, better public transit and safe streets in the greater Washington region.
“And this is something that we’ve been working with WMATA on.” Carrie Kisicki, Montgomery Advocacy Manager, at the Coalition for Smarter Growth, mentioned two important routes in the draft plan, 170a from Bethesda to Germantown, and 102a from Silver Spring to Germantown, with connections to White Oak and Aspen Hill. “The Express routes will be run 7 days a week at high enough frequencies to provide truly useful upcounty-downcounty connections,” she explained, providing service to areas with great need.
“We certainly think there’s a lot of focus on highway road expansion statewide and no focus on climate change impacts with this approach,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth.
“I think they’re frustrated with having to lead the way, but I do think it is so much easier for the District to lead on this,” says Stewart Schwartz, the executive director of the influential Coalition for Smarter Growth and a veteran of many Metro funding debates.
Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the transit advocacy non-profit Coalition for Smarter Growth, says it’s “concerning” that the agency may have to rely more on capital budget funds to reduce the deficit.
Bill Pugh lives in Alexandria and is senior policy fellow with Coalition for Smarter Growth. “Would you go so far as to say we have a housing crisis?,” Zebra asked Pugh in a phone interview two days after the community forum.
“Alexandria has a housing shortage like many jurisdictions,” said Pugh, “and it also has an affordability issue as well. Whether we call it a crisis or not, the data that was presented by the Urban Institute has clearly shown there’s not enough housing in the DC region on all income levels. And we see that in day-to-day examples. My kids attend ACPS schools and many of their teachers drive in from Prince William and Prince George’s counties because they can’t afford to live here.”
We haven’t heard proposals from our elected officials yet on how they will close the Metro funding gap, but we have heard a lot from them about the Commanders. Which public investment should our leaders prioritize?
The Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG) crunched the numbers and found that saving the Metro system (rail, bus, and paratransit) would cost less than one-tenth per user compared to the public subsidies proposed for a new Commanders stadium.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA/Metro) is facing a $750 million annual operating budget shortfall in fiscal 2025, which starts July 1, 2024 – just 10 months away. If our state and local governments in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia don’t step up to address the ongoing funding need, our region’s transit would suffer catastrophic cuts.
At the same time, we’ve seen a lot of attention to potential public subsidies for a new football stadium for the Washington Commanders. So, the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG) compared the cost of closing the WMATA budget gap to recent Maryland and Virginia stadium-subsidy proposals.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is urging leaders from Maryland, D.C. and Virginia to invest in D.C.-area transit as Metro faces a possible $750 million operating budget shortfall by July 1, which is the beginning of the agency’s next fiscal year.
“Our analysis shows that there should be as much and certainly more enthusiasm in Richmond, Annapolis and D.C. for maintaining and enhancing our critical Metro system as there is for subsidizing an already lucrative professional sports franchise,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the coalition, in a statement. “Sports fans, tourists, workers, families, businesses and our regional and state economy all depend on frequent and reliable Metro service.”