Where we are today on BRT in Montgomery County

Where we are today on BRT in Montgomery County

Curious about what’s up with Bus Rapid Transit here in MoCo? Coatition for Smarter Growth wrote an excellent summary which I’m reposting here. (No doubt you’ll notice that almost all of the BRT news concerns Route 29 rapid transit, not Route 355.)

Plans for BRT have taken a few twists and turns over the last five years.

How’d we get to where we are today? Here’s a quick recap:

  • 2008-2009: Montgomery County begins discussing plans for a countywide BRT network
  • November 2013: After five years of study, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passes a plan for an 81-mile BRT system. The plan consists of 10 BRT corridors throughout the county.
  • January 2015: County Executive Ike Leggett proposes building an ‘independent transit authority’(ITA) to help fund the first phase of BRT — which includes MD355, Veirs Mill Rd, and US29. After intense pressure, Leggett pulls his plan.
  • Spring – fall 2015: Leggett revives a transit task force to study financing options for BRT. In fall 2015, the transit task force recommends retooled legislation for an ITA. Again facing backlash, Leggett withdraws plans for ITA
  • Spring 2016: This March, County Executive Leggett announced $11.5 million to continue moving BRT forward. Leggett also committed to building a Rt.29 BRT system by 2020. In April, the county released detailed plans for BRT on Rt.29.

What’s happening right now?

Currently, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is studying design alternatives on MD355 and Veirs Mill Rd while pushing forward with more detailed plans for BRT along Rt.29. MCDOT has released its plans for a BRT system on Rt.29 (which will be the first BRT corridor completed) stretching from Burtonsville to downtown Silver Spring. The system will be 14 miles long and have 12 stops. Rt.29 BRT is projected to cost $67 million, and the federal government has already committed to covering $10 million of that. The county aims to have the system in operation by 2020.

Amy Ginsburg


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