Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Notice they don't say that it's not what they want or need, they just say that they can't figure out how to pay for it since the FTA process is so F'd up.
Montgomery County planners have recommended that a bus rapid transit system be built along the Interstate 270 corridor, saying that the other choice, a light rail line, would be too expensive to win federal funding.
This is a bullshit excuse. We spend billions on roads and interchanges to nowhere and get screwed on transit we need. Have fun I-270 dwellers. Guess what, there's more than enough money to widen the freeway.
The Montgomery Planning Board staff also called for I-270 to be widened with express lanes for carpools and toll-payers.
State transit officials have said that a 14-mile bus rapid transit system would cost about $450 million to build and that light rail would cost $778 million. The highway widening is estimated to cost $3.8 billion.
Anyone smell the stench of global death?


Matt Fisher said...

This same stupid excuse is being used in Winnipeg to justify a busway in place of light rail, which they say it will be a "stepping stone" to. Problem is, Winnipeg is the headquarters of a major bus manufacturer, New Flyer Industries.

However, in the Waterloo Region of Ontario, they have just chosen LRT over BRT on June 17th for a corridor between Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge, and will develop it in two phases, the first between Waterloo and Kitchener in 2014.

Oh, and it's my birthday today. I'm 22 years old. Happy Canada Day!

W. K. Lis said...

Bombardier Finalizes Contract to Deliver 204 Streetcars for City of Toronto

Bombardier Transportation announced today (June 30) that it has signed a contract with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for the supply of 204 100% low-floor streetcars to replace the City of Toronto’s aging fleet of vehicles. The contract is valued at approximately $851 million CDN ($735 million US, 523 million euros). Deliveries for the 204-vehicle order are scheduled to take place between 2012 and 2018, with the first prototype vehicles arriving in 2011. Under the agreement, up to an additional 400 vehicles could be ordered at a later date as part of Toronto’s Transit City Plan to expand the existing streetcar network with 120 kilometers of new double-track streetcar lines.

david vartanoff said...

Dumb as a bag of hammers. They burned money widening 270 a decade ago which merely increased the number of cars backed up in traffic. Failure to learn from mistakes is a sign of impending doom.

Unknown said...

This is very, very frustrating for those of us who live in Montgomery County and the Smart Growth coalition in the region as a whole.

What does it say about our future if one of the most clued in and progressive places can't figure this one out? This is just insane. I'm lucky to live within walking distance of a Metro station but I don't want to see more wasted fuel because our county can't plan right. It doesn't help that we have a self-defeating federal funding mechanism.

Matt Fisher said...

Oh, and after I was writing this this morning, I will say that this idea to spend billions of dollars on one highway widening is f**king screwed. For that same money, couldn't they in Montgomery County just pay for the CCT as LRT and the Purple Line as LRT? And with that money, well, maybe even bring back streetcars in D.C.? Just my thoughts. I inserted my own shamelessness earlier.

Adam said...

BRT: $450 million
Light Rail: $778 million
Heavy Rail (aka the real thing, what should be done if you're willing to throw away more than a billion dollars): About $1.5 billion
Widening a highway: $3.8 billion
Having the auto lobby/golf club members buy out a county commission and make it harder for real people to get around just because they hate change and do the least sustainable thing because it means they can live the same way for another year: Priceless

Davemurphy said...

You left out the fun part: they want to widen the highway to SIXTEEN LANES at parts. Two local, four "regular" and two high occupancy/toll lanes in each direction. When something fails, making it bigger only makes it a bigger failure.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't help that the CCT route seems to purposfully go out of its way to miss every walkable or mixed use destination along its route.

The really frustrating thing about planning in this corridor is that if they did it right Gaithersburg could be the next Arlington, but instead they're going to get a shuttle between the parking lots of suburban office complexes.

Instead of building a latter day Orange Line, they're following the model of the San Jose's disaster of a light rail system.

Unless the state fixes the rought (and it would be EASY to do so), frankly they shouldn't invest in rail. Putting rail along the planned route would just make people think rail sucks.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Some typos in there. Rought is a new one. Guess I'll preview next time. Sorry.

Adam said...

If ANY of you live near this area, I STRONGLY encourage you to go air your grievances.

Matt Fisher said...

Saying you can't afford LRT and you have to go with BRT by invoking "limited funds" while at the same time saying it's acceptable to throw money at a rather unneccessary highway widening is, to me, obscene.

But this is the real world, and sometimes we need to make sacrifices we don't want to make. This is indeed the case with many BRT projects in planning or currently being built, even when I want rail on those corridors. Andd we have other competing priorties. I am not saying BRT is a totally bad idea, but I always disagree with the claim that BRT is "just like rail, but cheaper".

In fact, the CCT route would already be insanely far from downtown D.C., and the Purple Line and Baltimore's Red Line, which should both be LRT, are more important than this to me.