Betcha thought “huh, I wonder what that’s about?” Click.
Sorry. That was sarcasm. The Corridor Cities Transitway, the county’s main transportation project after the Purple Line, just got zeroed out in Hogan’s new six year transportation budget. Nothing. Bupkis. Nada.
Hogan’s proposed six-year transportation budget includes no money for the Corridor Cities Transitway, which has been planned since at least 2000 to connect the Shady Grove Metro station at the end of the Red Line with the upcounty. The first nine-mile segment would run between Shady Grove and the Metropolitan Branch MARC commuter rail station in Gaithersburg. Delaying the project would save the state about $78 million over the next six years, according to the budget.
I-270, which runs parallel to the Red Line, links upper Montgomery, Frederick County and points beyond with the Capital Beltway. The highway has almost daily traffic jams during rush hours and has grown more congested as Washington-area workers seek more affordable housing in fast-growing outer suburbs.
Was the County aware this was coming? Doesn’t look like it.
The news of the transitway’s delay caught Montgomery officials and transit advocates by surprise because previous six-year budgets had included money to complete the line’s design and purchase right of way. Two advocates said that the latest state timeline they had seen had construction beginning in 2019 and the transitway carrying passengers in 2022.
Although the line is now at 30 percent design — meaning its route has been chosen and major elements of it decided — the funding delay would mean the project’s final design and right-of-way acquisition wouldn’t proceed until at least 2023.
“It’s just very disappointing,” said Marilyn Balcombe, president of the Gaithersburg Germantown Chamber of Commerce. “We’re at a very critical stage, so it doesn’t make fiscal sense to stop this project right this minute.”
Balcombe said reviving the project six years from now probably would require redoing much of the planning and engineering work necessary to apply for federal construction aid.
“To take a project to 30 percent completion and then put it on a shelf for six years makes no sense at all,” she said.
It makes perfect sense, however, if you’re trying to put the screws to the largest county in the state, and which overwhelmingly supported Hogan’s opponent in 2014, and will assuredly do so again in 2018. Hogan’s buddy Chris Christie knows how this works – Hogan is just smarter than Christie but just as vindictive. First the Red Line in Baltimore, now CCT in Montgomery.
Rushern Baker, watch your back, my friend.