Montgomery Lawmakers Blast Fund Cut for ‘Crucial’ Transit Project

    Montgomery County lawmakers are expressing their “extreme disappointment” with the Maryland Department of Transportation’s decision to remove a long-planned transit line from the state’s list of funded priority projects.

    In a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn on Thursday, the county’s Annapolis delegation called the Corridor Cities Transitway “crucial” to Montgomery’s economic growth.

    The CCT is a proposed 15-mile bus rapid transit line that would run from the Shady Grove Metro station in Gaithersburg to Clarksburg. 

    In their letter, lawmakers note that the state has already spent $38 million to start design and complete environmental reviews, adding that “to cancel the project now would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

    They also argue that both business and residential developments that have sprung up in recent years were constructed with the expectation that the state and county would continue to move forward with the transit line.

    “The Great Seneca Science Corridor needs this project to move forward, as does the Crown Farm Development, the Kentlands and Lakelands communities, and the Universities at Shady Grove,” the lawmakers wrote.

    Phase 1 of the project was estimated to cost nearly $550 million.

    In pulling the project from the state’s rolling six-year Consolidated Transportation Plan last month, an MDOT official said the state isn’t killing the project, it is simply shifting responsibility for it.

    “MDOT invested $38 million in the CCT to deliver the project design along with an approved environmental assessment from the Federal Transit Administration,” agency spokeswoman Erin Henson wrote. “This bus route is solely located in one county making Montgomery County the lead for future work on this local project.”

    With planners looking for ways to reduce the number of people driving to work alone — and scale back the burning of fossil fuels — lawmakers said the state’s action was “counterintuitive and counterproductive.”

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    Bruce DePuyt
    Bruce DePuyt spent nearly three decades on local television, including 14 years as executive producer and host of News Talk on NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, D.C., area. He has served as reporter, anchor and producer/host of 21 This Week in Montgomery County and as reporter/anchor at NBC affiliate WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, VA. He's a regular contributor to WTOP (103.5 FM) and frequently moderates community and political events.