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County Council Approves County Executive Elrich’s Budget Recommendations to Boost Transportation and Safety

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Montgomery County Council recently approved the County’s Fiscal Year 2022 operating and capital budgets that advance several transportation and safety initiatives that were proposed by County Executive Marc Elrich in his recommended budget.

The approved initiatives include accelerated planning and design for more bus rapid transit (BRT); enhanced funding for pedestrian, bicyclist and traffic safety to meet the goals of the County’s Vision Zero Initiative; and support for a faster transition of the transit fleet to emission free vehicles to support greenhouse gas emission reduction goals in the County’s Climate Action Plan.

The approved combined budgets allocate a total of $231.78 million to the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to support the continuation of programs and services and adds additional funding to support priority initiatives.

 “In order for us to improve both the quality of life and fulfill our goal of reducing carbon emissions, we must invest in our transportation infrastructure and expanding transit options,” said County Executive Elrich. “I appreciate the review and passage of the budget by the County Council and I thank MCDOT for their hard work in creating multi-modal transportation options for our residents and businesses. From BRT to bike and pedestrian safety to electrification of our bus fleet, we are aggressively making progress on reducing traffic while improving sustainability with these funds.”

BRT is a planned bus-based transit system that would deliver fast, reliable and cost-effective transit services. The first phase of BRT, which was launched as “Flash” service, began in 2020 along the US 29 corridor in Silver Spring. Provisions in the new budget to support the program include:

  • Accelerating the preliminary engineering phase for the MD355 BRT project, and providing funding for the final design for a portion of the corridor.
  • Providing funding to complete planning and preliminary design of additional improvements along US 29 to support the initial investment for the current Flash.
  • Moving the start of planning for the North Bethesda Transitway up two years to FY22.

The enhancements are part of a planned 102-mile BRT network for 10 primary corridors within the County that will dramatically improve transit; refocus how people travel in the County and support the County's economic development, equity and mobility goals.

“We are committed to playing a vital role in achieving the County’s ambitious transportation and climate goals,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Mr. Elrich was an early advocate of creating a bus rapid transit system throughout the County and this budget represents major steps to advancing his vision."

To improve short-term bus operations throughout County, funding is included in the budget for a new Bus Priority Project that will provide targeted and quickly implementable upgrades to improve bus reliability and travel times. The project will plan, design and construct enhancements, such as bus lanes, queue jumps, passenger boarding, lighting improvements, transit signal priority, upgraded bus stops and other similar projects.

Funding will also include the first phase of the Great Seneca Transit Improvements to advance the planning, design and implementation of a new premium transit service to support the Great Seneca Science Corridor and surrounding areas.

Supporting the Vision Zero initiative, the FY22 capital budget doubles funding for the Safe Routes to School Program by adding to the Pedestrian Safety Program project and the School Zone Pedestrian Treatments Project.  

Additionally, the FY22 operating budget includes funding for a study that will complete the assessment of pedestrian access to all Montgomery County Public Schools.

“This budget provides funding to reinforce MCDOT’s commitment to implementing the Vision Zero plan so that we can make more progress toward the goal of zero deaths and eliminate serious injuries on our roads,” said Director Conklin.

In support of the Climate Action Plan, greater funding will accelerate MCDOT’s transition of its bus fleet from diesel to zero emission buses. The recommended budget includes funding to purchase an additional 20 electric Ride On buses to bring the total electric fleet to 34 buses.

Other Ride On Bus funding:

  • Extends the Ride On free fare policy through September 2021.
  • Restores Ride On operations on a gradual schedule to its pre-COVID service level.
  • Starting July 1, expands the Seniors Ride Free Program to allow seniors and individuals with disabilities to ride free whenever Ride On operates.

“The County Council’s approval of the Executive’s recommendations to accelerate transit projects, and the adoption of zero-emissions vehicles, are important steps toward meeting DOT’s economic development, equity and climate goals,” said Director Conklin.

For more information on MCDOT programs and services visit the website here. follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, and subscribe to MCDOT’s ‘Go Montgomery!’ newsletter.

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Release ID: 21-437
Media Contact: Emily DeTitta, 240-372-2282
Categories: Transportation