Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett announced yesterday his plan to move forward with bus rapid transit without the creation of an independent authority to develop and oversee its operation. Leggett announced earlier this month that he 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 in the Washington Post,
Leggett said he has asked Montgomery’s Department of Transportation to develop less costly alternatives to existing plans for bus-only express lanes, focusing one or two routes in a projected 98-mile system.
“I am committed to serving the rapid transit needs of our county,” Leggett said. The county would finance the routes in its own capital budget, which Leggett will introduce early next year.
Leggett said he hopes that if opponents see the bus lanes in limited operation, they might be more inclined to support a transit authority.
The routes and costs were not specified in the announcement. However, the article mentions three routes that have county interest.
…along Route 355 from the Rockville Metro station to the Bethesda Metro station, with a current estimated cost of $422 million; along U.S. 29 from Burtonsville to downtown Silver Spring ($200 million); and along the Viers Mill Road corridor ($285 million).