cc: Montgomery Community
May 12, 2012
Governor Martin O'Malley
110 State Circle
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Re: Your Dreadful Bus Rapid Transit Decision
Your decision for BRT instead of LRT (Light Rail) for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) in Montgomery County is no doubt the worst transportation decision you have made since taking office as Governor of Maryland.
When you first came into office one of the first decisions you made was to continue construction of MD 200 highway despite many objections. That road was built in record breaking time between 2007 and 2011 during our worst recession cutting a wide swath of right of way through Montgomery County. Other major roads were also built during that time.
It took you several years to make the wise decision for LRT for the Purple Line. The decision was very slow in coming but you finally did the right thing.
Meanwhile a modal decision for the CCT languished while you did nothing about a timely decision. Although Montgomery County leadership and citizens preferred LRT they became so disgusted with a non decision and super delayed construction schedule, they eventually decided to go with the state vaunted BRT for the CCT. Maybe politically a good strategy to get Montgomery County to switch to BRT but a despicable course of action for good transportation for the county and state.
Now you can blame the county for wanting BRT and in keeping with that political decision you followed suit. Not your fault, not your strategy?
You think BRT will be useful 10, 25, 75 or 100 years from now? You should know better. You made all the right comments about LRT for the Purple and Red lines. But now, all of a sudden LRT is unaffordable and takes too long to build for the CCT, especially in one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the state.
Convince me that a wide super eight lane divided highway can be built so quickly while a simple two-track LRT takes eons to plan and build. Meanwhile, all over the U.S. and world LRT is getting built, even in Washington, DC. It's LRT the public wants, not junk BRT.
Montgomery County is going nuts about BRT with its plans for a 160-mile BRT network. They are thirsty for diesel bus exhaust everywhere. You want Maryland to be transformational with energy use and clean environment—Montgomery claims to be a green county. How do you propose to achieve that with more and more buses polluting the environment?
You have little control over the price of noxious fuel. Not only do buses consume tons of it but also the delivery trucks bringing it to the depots. Buses require fuel on an endless basis no matter the efficiency—forever.
Buses have much less capacity than modern LRT that you boasted about for the Purple Line. "This is not your grandfather's LRT"—remember? LRT trains can be coupled together as needed and controlled with a single operator. Each bus requires an operator and more buses needed to match the capacity of LRT. That's greater bus frequency and fuel consumption forever. Over the long run LRT is by far more efficient than any bus and certainly more attractive to riders. LRT enhances the county, buses do not. Montgomery County has too many buses now. Rail is what is needed—not more buses.
If true BRT is built with separate lanes, etc. how is that so much cheaper than LRT which can also be built in many places with only ballast, ties and rail. You can't possibly justify the long construction schedule of LRT while roads get priority and built quickly. Apparently, you want to send more money abroad to buy foreign oil. The new patriotism? That money can be used to construct clean, smart LRT.
BRT is a loss in every conceivable way. Buses will wear out in 10 to 15 years and need replacing. LRT cars can last 50 years and more. BRT roadways will need heavy repairs frequently due to heavy bus usage.
Your BRT decision for the CCT is totally unwarranted from a practical and transportation need. Maybe a smart political decision but lousy from every other perspective for the community.
You have now made me and many others feel ashamed of your considerable anti-rail decision when you could have made it years ago for LRT. Shame on you for giving Montgomery County a worthless, needless and expensive transit monster.
As with LRT, BRT could be all electric powered by clean renewables. Bet nobody thought of that. Thanks to you we can all breathe more noxious pollution from buses. Your legacy for generations to come. You will make us green, OK, but from breathing in more O'Malley bus pollution.
It's time to reverse course or you will be the next Titanic captain.
Moving ahead … in the wrong direction.
BRT = Build Rail Transit