FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2016
Pete Tomao, Montgomery County Advocacy Manager
Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director
Statement on Rt.29 Bus Rapid Transit Federal TIGER Grant Award
Montgomery County, MD— On Tuesday, July 27, federal officials announced that Montgomery County will receive $10 million to help build Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Rt.29. The proposed BRT will run from Downtown Silver Spring to Burtonsville and include 12 stations. The BRT is projected to begin operations in 2020 and will cost roughly $67 million. Transit advocates hailed the announcement.
“The federal TIGER grant is a major step toward implementing the 14-mile BRT system in eastern Montgomery. Winning a competitive grant like this shows Montgomery is serious about making BRT a reality,” said Pete Tomao, the Montgomery County Advocacy Manager at the Coalition for Smarter Growth.
The proposed BRT system is projected to serve 23,000 riders in a corridor where 12% of the population has no access to a car, and 30% of households earn less than half of the area median income. The BRT system will address long standing economic and equity issues on the Rt. 29 corridor and ensure that every resident has the access to transportation they need to be successful.
“Not only is BRT better for equity, it is also better for the economy. Job growth along the corridor is predicated on a future BRT system,” said Tomao. “Economic plans for White Oak are especially dependent upon the arrival of a high quality transit system. We have seen the power of transit-oriented development in Silver Spring and Bethesda. Now, eastern Montgomery can benefit from the same type of development and job growth.”
“To ensure the system is successful, Montgomery officials must maintain a focus on creating a ‘gold standard’ BRT,” said Tomao. This means a system with frequent, reliable service, off-board fare collection, upgraded stations, and level boarding. The county also needs to ensure dedicated bus lanes are implemented wherever possible. It is dedicated lanes that give BRT a competitive advantage over other types of transportation.
“The award is great news for sustainable and equitable growth in Montgomery. We look forward to working with County officials to ensure the BRT system is the best it can be.” concluded Tomao.
About the Coalition for Smarter Growth
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington DC region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Its mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish. Learn more at smartergrowth.net.