Below you’ll find the testimony I’ll give tonight at the Transit Task Force Public Forum. Tomorrow, look in our e-newsletter for a story about what happens at tonight’s public forum. (What? You don’t receive our weekly eblast? Then sign up and stay up-to-date about everything in the White Flint area!)
My name is Amy Ginsburg, and I am the Executive Director of Friends of White Flint, a nonprofit organization with nearly 1,300 supporters, including residents, businesses, homeowners associations, and property owners. Our only mission is to ensure the full implementation of the White Flint Sector Plan so that the promise of a walkable, transit-oriented, smart-growth community is achieved in the Pike District.
A Rapid Transit System is critical to creating an energetic, prosperous community in the Pike District. RTS is indispensable for improving the quality of life for a growing population and to attracting businesses and retailers to the Pike District. In fact, 7,400 residential units in both the White Flint 1 and White Flint 2 sectors are linked to developing an RTS along Route 355.
We need to provide Montgomery County with the ability to efficiently and quickly create the kind of walkable, transit-friendly community so important to our future. Just as bread needs a baker, RTS needs a Transit Authority which we believe is a strong option for managing this complex system.
Moving forward with RTS is vital for both the County and the White Flint area. Many employees and residents, especially millennials, want to ditch their cars; RTS will enable many of them to do just that. Traffic doesn’t attract business to Montgomery County; transit options and walkable communities like the Pike District do. Creating jobs is the key to enabling Montgomery County to remain competitive and sustainable in the future. RTS is key to attracting those businesses and creating those jobs. In fact, studies have shown that after factoring in the cost of RTS, the County will net $871 million in revenue over twenty-five years.
There are many thorny issues to work out, including funding, but I urge Montgomery County government to make rapid transit on Rockville Pike a top priority. We believe that Bus Rapid Transit on Route 355 should be the first line. A successful Rockville Pike line will demonstrate how RTS can have a positive impact in a highly visible manner. Fortunately, the White Flint area has the density, commercial development, and support to be a successful pilot. Such a pilot program on Route 355 will make it easy to see a Rapid Transit System creating a vibrant, thriving community.
From all of us at Friends of White Flint, thank you for your continued support of transit and the White Flint Sector Plan.