by Meredith Narcum
June 8, 1998
Close to $20 million dollars in federal funds have been approved for the Silver Spring Transit Center.
The bill, passed by both the House and the Senate last month, is due to be signed into law Tuesday, said Jesse Jacobs, public affairs officer for Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D) of Baltimore. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) of Baltimore and Sarbanes supported the bill.
The proposed $40 million transit center would connect MARC commuter trains, the Metro system, Ride-On and Metro buses, the University of Maryland shuttle and taxi services. It would be connected to the present Metro station in downtown Silver Spring. Construction is scheduled to begin in 1999.
"With this new funding, we're taking a major step forward in ensuring the region has a modern, efficient and integrated transportation system to meet our needs for the next century," said Sarbanes. "It also will provide a further boost to the efforts to revitalize the downtown Silver Spring central business district."
"The Silver Spring Transit Center will help save jobs, create jobs, and link people to jobs," said Mikulski.
To date, about $20 million in the Maryland Department of Transportation capital budget is earmarked for the project, according to state officials.
The additional funding would come from mass transit funds included in the recent reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), said Jacobs.
"To get federal funding for a transit center is wonderful," said County Council member Derick Berlage (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring. "None of us had figured out where that money would come from."
The transit center already has been a selling point for developers promoting downtown Silver Spring revitalization, Berlage said.
"One of Silver Spring's great strengths has always been [that] its an incredible transportation hub," he said. "It's a phenomenally busy station."
The center is being developed in two phases, according to transit officials. In the first phase, the MARC commuter rail station would be moved next to the Metro station. The second phase would involve building a larger transit center by expanding the existing bus loop and parking area.
Thinking of home