Gov. Martin O’Malley has endorsed the use of bus rapid transit for Montgomery County’s Corridor Cities Transitway, the proposed north-south line from the Shady Grove Metro station to the COMSAT facility near Clarksburg.
The governor’s office made the announcement Friday, more than two years later than O'Malley (D) had expected to declare a mode for the much-anticipated transit line.
Capital costs for the 15-mile line were estimated at around $828 million. The system would comprise 68 BRT vehicles characterized by low floors and multiple doors that open at sidewalk level, allowing people to walk on and off as they would on a Metro car.
The BRT vehicles would make 16 stops and will travel mostly in rights of way separate from traffic. Travel time from Shady Grove to COMSAT is about 50 minutes, according to the state's estimates.
The CCT would be built in two phases: Phase I would involve a nine-mile segment between Shady Grove and Metropolitan Grove; Phase II would consist of the six miles from Metropolitan Grove to COMSAT.
In January, the in favor of using a BRT system over a light rail system, pivoting from a 6-3 vote in favor of light rail in 2009.
State officials are hoping for federal funding to cover roughly half the cost of the project, which is projected to open in 2020. Development of the 900-acre "" hinges on funding and building the CCT.
The transit project also is key to job creation, Steven A. Silverman, director of the county’s Department of Economic Development, .
"Without it we can’t expand the life sciences or assist in the private sector creation of jobs. ...," he said. "You can’t have a Life Sciences Center without the . That’s the way it’s set up and it should be set up that way.”
County residents have debated the route and the mode of the transit line.
The Rockville City Council between light rail or bus rapid transit but wrote a letter on behalf of King Farm residents asking the state to study alternate routes that would not include CCT stations in the north Rockville neighborhood. The state studied the alternative but to move the CCT's route out of King Farm.
In December, plans for BRT from residents who attended a presentation at the Upcounty Regional Services Building in Germantown. Much of the criticism came from Damascus and Clarksburg residents who were unconvinced BRT would improve their weekday commutes.
The Maryland Transit Administration will submit the project to the Federal Transit Administration under its New Starts Program as the MTA prepares for the preliminary engineering phase of the project, the governor’s office announced Friday.
Clarification: The original version of this article did not make it clear that the state considered an alternate route around King Farm. The third paragraph from the bottom in this version has been revised to reflect that the state studied the alternative but rejected the request to move the CCT's route out of King Farm.