Montgomery County Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Plan One Step Closer To Reality

10:12 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WUSA9) -- If you live in Montgomery County, you may be one step closer to a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan that stretches 80 miles, and perhaps a resulting property tax hike that stretches into the billions. 

Thursday night, people spoke out at a public hearing about the proposed plan.

Pamela Lindstrom of Gaithersburg came to talk about the effect the BRT would have on her neighborhood. She and dozens of her dedicated neighbors didn't love the commission's plan for the BRT to run along Frederick Avenue, because as she says, "This is the most constrained historic part of the road."

So, Lindstrom and more than two dozen neighbors, along with a local architect and planning company, devised their own plan with the BRT running a block south, "It would serve a new downtown for Gaithersburg, which Gaithersburg obviously lacks."

The routes are more or less set. One of several would run along Georgia Avenue from the District line to Montgomery General Hospital, but we asked Casey Anderson, one of five County Planning Commissioners if the buses would have their own lanes or share them with cars. His response: "There would probably be some places where they will take lanes away from cars, there will be other places where additional lanes are built and other places where the bus vehicles will operate in mixed traffic with cars." 

Some put the plan's price tag at $2 billion, some at $2.5 billion. The leading theory is that the money will come from either property taxes from everyone in the county or just people who live within a 1/2 mile of the routes.

Anderson said, "The county council will have to decide and there's a possibility that the state or the federal government would have to pitch in."

The planning board is expecting to give their final plan to the County Council by July.


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