Gov. Martin O’Malley has endorsed the use of a bus rapid transit system for Montgomery County’s Corridor Cities Transitway, the proposed north-south corridor from the COMSAT facility near Clarksburg to the Shady Grove metrorail station.
The governor’s office made the announcement Friday, more than two years later than O'Malley (D) had expected.
Capital costs for the 15-mile corridor 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 the 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 Montgomery County Council voted 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. The state's latest projects put the CCT's launch in 2020. Development of the 900-acre "Science City" hinges on funding and building the CCT.
In December, plans for the BRT drew a lukewarm response from residents who attended a presentation at the Upcounty Regional Services Building. 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.