Move over Purple Line, the CCT is on its way
Upcounty advocates launching campaign to increase the visibility of the Corridor Cities Transitway
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006
And they are looking to change that with an orchestrated campaign to jumpstart community dialogue.
A lack of controversy surrounding the project, a bus or light-rail route connecting the Shady Grove Metro Station and Clarksburg, has kept it from the limelight — and the forefront of funding discussions.
Projects like the hotly debated Purple Line in Bethesda have gotten all the attention, they say.
‘‘We have no one opposed to us. The only reason we have not pulled together is because there is no opposition, and that’s why the newspapers are not covering it,” state Del. Jean B. Cryor (R-Dist. 15) of Potomac told members of the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board last week.
‘‘I actually suggested once that we hire some people who opposed us to create some controversy,” she said.
Cryor and other upcounty advocates say increasing the name-recognition and support of the long-proposed Corridor Cities Transitway is crucial for the project’s survival.
The 14-mile project, planned to be built in the next 10 years, was approved by the state for preliminary study work through July 2007. Officials say it’s crucial to include funding for the design and planning phase of the project in the next state budget.
The project is expected to cost between $415 million and $742 million, depending on which mode of transportation is used.
‘‘Our job is to let people know that we have a project that extends rail past Shady Grove Road,” County Councilman Michael J. Knapp (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown said in an interview after the meeting.
‘‘Then we need people to advocate for the project. And we need to do it in the next three months,” he said.
And with the Purple Line project, which is proposed to connect Bethesda to New Carrollton, and a metro rail project in Baltimore, the competition for state and federal money will likely be fierce.
‘‘Transit projects nationally compete against each other [for federal funding],” Knapp said. ‘‘It’s important to be a very competitive project. We need a strong proposal. The fact that we have these two transit projects puts resources in a difficult position along with the Baltimore projects.”
He added, ‘‘I’m assuming at one point the state or someone will have to decide which one is ranked at the top.”
To help kickoff the Corridor Cities Transitway support campaign, a rally is planned for 8 a.m. on Oct. 23 at the east Kiss and Ride area of Shady Grove Metro station.
Cryor urged upcounty residents to attend.
She also said attendance at state transportation hearings on road projects would bolster the project’s chances of getting funded.
‘‘We’re trying to develop a transit system that serves the county’s needs,” said Rick J. Kiegel, a consultant with McCormick Taylor in Baltimore, who assists in managing the transitway project for the Maryland Transit Administration.
A planned route has been drawn from Shady Grove Road west through King Farm, passing Kentlands and Lakelands along Great Seneca Highway. The route then heads north along Quince Orchard Road to Interstate 270 and on to Clarksburg.
The county already owns the necessary right of ways to build either two bus lanes or light-rail tracks along the route.
The first phase of the project is slated to include stops in the Rockville and Gaithersburg areas, Kiegel said.
But county officials are pushing for the project to extend all the way to Clarksburg from the start.
Kathie Hulley, president of the Clarksburg Civic Association, said residents of that growing community were upset to learn that the transitway won’t initially stop at Clarksburg Town Center. Instead, the planned Clarksburg stop is at the Comsat building.
‘‘We were very unhappy when we learned the only stop would be Comsat,” Hulley said at last week’s meeting.
Kiegel said that additional stops are planned ‘‘should the need arise post-2025.”
‘‘We looked at transit centers that could provide large scale parking,” Kiegel said. State officials felt Comsat was best suited for that.