Montgomery County Executive Holds Off On Creation of County Transit Authority

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has decided not to introduce legislation to create a County Transit Authority that would raise funds, build and operate a countywide bus rapid transit system. The county will instead focus on a community education and outreach effort on the benefits of bus rapid transit.

As reported by Bethesda Beat,

Leggett’s proposal, the subject of multiple public hearings and intense study by a county-organized Transit Task Force, faced significant community opposition from the start as some feared it would lead to a property tax increase to help pay for the system.

It also faced skepticism from some of the County Council’s biggest transit supporters, including council members George Leventhal and Roger Berliner. As the debate on Leggett’s proposal continued during the past year, Leventhal and Berliner both suggested Leggett hold off on the Transit Authority enabling legislation until the county’s Rapid Transit System (RTS) was closer to fruition.

The Transit Task Force, appointed by County Executive Leggett developed recommendations in 2012 that led to a 2013 countywide master plan for bus rapid transit. The County Executive asked the group to reconvene after he pulled legislation to create the Authority from a list of bills to be considered in the 2015 General Assembly.

While the task force’s final report was generally in favor of proceeding with the Transit Authority legislation, some within the group of county officials, elected officials, community activists and others expressed major concerns in separate statements.