Montgomery funding request emphasizes transit projects -- Gazette.Net







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Getting state money for transit projects will be a main focus for the Montgomery County Council as it submits its transportation priorities to the state delegation.

The projects include making sure the Purple Line project and Corridor Cities Transitway are funded, as well as supporting funding for capital improvements to the Metro system.

The council voted 9-0 Tuesday to approve a letter from the council members and County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) to be sent to Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring and Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Dist. 14) of Calverton highlighting projects the county would like to see money appropriated for in the state’s budget.

Raskin and Kaiser chair the county’s delegations to the state Senate and House of Delegates, respectively.

The letter contains 15 projects to be funded for construction and another nine to have funded for development and evaluation.

The state has provided part of the funding for the Purple Line, the 16-mile light-rail project that would connect Bethesda and New Carrollton. The county’s letter asks that money be appropriated in case the federal government doesn’t provide its share of money for the project.

The letter also asks that state money be provided to fund the second stage of the Corridor Cities Transitway, a bus rapid transit system.

Money has already been provided for the first stage that will run from the Shady Grove Metro Station to the Metropolitan Grove MARC station. The second phase is expected to continue north to Clarksburg.

Along with the Purple Line and transitway projects, the letter requests funding for projects such as:

• building a portion of Montrose Parkway East from Md. 355 to Parklawn Drive;

• creating an interchange at Georgia Avenue and Norbeck Road;

• widening Norbeck Road from Georgia Avenue to Layhill Road to four lanes;

• widening Woodfield Road from the Midcounty Highway to Airpark Drive to four lanes;

• creating an interchange at Interstate 270 and Newcut Road.

Not all of the county’s projects will get state funding.

The county last sent a letter in 2011, and out of 12 projects, three received funding, said Deputy Council Administrator Glenn Orlin.

Those projects were the Purple Line project, an interchange at I-270 and Watkins Mill Road and a bypass of Georgia Avenue around Brookeville.

The letter is a chance to tell the state what the county’s priorities are, said Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda, the chairman of the council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee.

Council President Craig L. Rice said he was happy to see the Corridor Cities Transitway among the county’s top funding priorities.

His district would be the most affected by the project, and it is very important for upcounty residents to get access to transit, Rice said.

Marc Elrich (D-At large) of Takoma Park said he wished the county had put all transit projects ahead of any road projects on the list.

It’s hard to know which roads need improved until you’ve seen what effects increased transit can have, he said.