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Press Releases - Department of Transportation

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has been awarded a $2 million grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Regional Infrastructure Accelerators (RIA) program to support the expansion of the Flash Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network in the County through a new research partnership with the University of Maryland.

Administered by the USDOT Build America Bureau, RIA provides funding for research of best practices in project planning, studies and analysis, preliminary engineering and design. The project will serve as a blueprint for the region.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems are part of a national movement toward upgraded bus systems focused on faster, more convenient and reliable bus services. BRTs are known to have limited-stop bus service implemented along set routes in metropolitan areas across the U.S. and worldwide. Flash is Montgomery County’s BRT system and includes plans for a network of eight fixed routes.  

The high-frequency service is designed to get people to their destination faster, and less expensively, than by car. Flash corridors spur development as businesses and housing tend to spring up along BRT routes creating or fortifying vibrant mixed-use communities. The lines will support a high level of mobility, connecting communities throughout the County. 

“This RIA grant will enable the County to speed the delivery of its ambitious bus rapid transit system and establish a regional model for moving projects forward more quickly and efficiently using innovative methods of project delivery and financing,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.

Funding from the grant will be used to research and establish best practices in financing and project planning for the expansion of the Flash BRT corridors in Montgomery County. In a new partnership between Montgomery County and University of Maryland, MCDOT will partner with the Build America Center at the University of Maryland to create AccelerateMC, an essential transportation planning research center, to conduct these studies.

Findings from the AccerateMC studies will be used to establish a blueprint for implementing bus rapid transit systems throughout the region.

The Flash BRT network will serve as an innovative and economical way to meet the growing transportation needs of County residents, help reduce reliance on automobiles and move people around the County faster. Plans for the eight-route bus service network will connect Montgomery County transit hubs, commercial centers and public services.

“MCDOT envisions a 102-mile Flash BRT network to serve the transportation needs of its over 1 million residents, provide equitable access to jobs and educational opportunities, and help eliminate transportation-generated carbon emissions by 2035,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “This grant will allow us work to closely with the University of Maryland’s Build America Center to accelerate this important project. I am grateful for the partnership MCDOT has with our state, regional and municipal partners and our labor representatives that helped support this project.”

AccelerateMC will focus on developing strategies to further the development of the BRT projects already in progress along Veirs Mill Road, MD 355 and US 29. The first Flash corridor, on Route 29, is currently in service with advancements such as portions of dedicated bus lanes planned. Flash 355 is in the implementation phase and Flash Veirs Mill is in the final design phase. AccelerateMC also will assist in the buildout of a new bus depot to support the County’s expanded fleet of zero-emission buses. The bus depot will include charging stations for electric buses and on-site hydrogen production.

“I want to thank U.S. Senator Ben Cardin; U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen; the Maryland Congressional Delegation; Paul Wiedefeld and the Maryland Department of Transportation; Randy Clarke and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; Reuben Collins and the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board; Montgomery County Council President Evan Glass; D. Wade Yost, the town manager of Poolesville; Qingbin Cui and the University of Maryland Build America Center; Gino Renne and UFCW Local 1994; and Bill Tompkins and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation for their unwavering support of this project,” County Executive Elrich said. 

For information on MCDOT programs and services visit, follow @MCDOTNow on X, Facebook, and Instagram and subscribe to MCDOT's "Go Montgomery!" newsletter.

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Release ID: 23-114
Media Contact: Emily DeTitta, 240-372-2282

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