Corridor Cities Transitway Update

By
Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS
 
MARCH 2007 STATUS REPORT
CORRIDOR CITIES TRANSITWAY COALITION
 
The Germantown Alliance recently hosted the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and the State Highway Administration (SHA) for a briefing on the status of the CCT and the I-270/US 15 Multi-Modal Corridor Study. The following is a status report based on that briefing.

 


The CCT is one of four State transit projects that will compete for funding.  The projects are:

·        Corridor Cities Transitway - Montgomery County

·        Purple Line - Montgomery County

·        Red Line - Baltimore City and County

·        Green Line – Baltimore City

 

The first three projects are roughly on the same schedule, while the Green Line study is just beginning the Alternatives Analysis phase. In addition, MTA is conducting a feasibility study of a potential extension of WMATA’s Green Line from Greenbelt to Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport.

 

Planning for the CCT has been delayed by approximately one year due to concerns over how the regional model predicts future transit ridership.  As ridership projections are a critical component of the viability of any transit project and a key criterion in the Federal Transportation Authority’s review and approval process, they must be accurate. The general concerns regarding the Washington area regional model affect both the CCT and the Purple Line. In fact, these concerns are relevant for all the transit projects in Maryland as well as others around the country.

 

Assuming the current model can be adjusted to obtain accurate ridership projections and the schedule is not delayed further, the project timeline is as follows:

 

Jan/Feb 2008

Alternatives Analysis/Environment Assessment Document completed

Winter 2007/2008

Public Meetings in Montgomery and Frederick Counties

Summer 2008

Locally Preferred Alternative Selected

Summer 2008

 

Request Federal transit funding through the "New Starts" Program

2012

Construction Start Date – contingent on funding

2015

Construction Completed (estimated)

 

MTA reported the results of its analysis of the right-of-way needed for the CCT. It identified every parcel along the transitway route, determined its owner, and assigned the property to three basic groupings. Based on this research, approximately 35% of the transitway right-of-way lies within publicly controlled land (i.e. – within existing street right-of-way or on land specifically dedicated to the Transitway). An additional 25% has right-of-way protection through reservation or easement. The remaining 40% has no protections at this time, although there is no major development existing or planned along this right-of-way. The local jurisdictions continue to work with developers and property owners to obtain right-of-way as it becomes available.

 

All Maryland transit projects compete nationally with all other transit projects for limited Federal funding. Because of heavy demand, the current Congressional practice is to cap the Federal share at a maximum of 50% of project costs, $500M total maximum per project, and $100M maximum per year.

The project will likely be broken into two construction phases as shown below. The current cost projections include final design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction and are as follows:

 

CAPITAL COSTS (2006 dollars)

 

MODE

PHASE 1 – Shady Grove to Metropolitan Grove

Phase 2 – Metropolitan Grove to COMSAT

Bus Rapid Transit

$320 M

$528 M

Light Rail Transit

$521 M

$853 M

 

Due to the high construction cost estimates for the transit and highway components of the multi-modal project, the Maryland Department of Transportation is investigating a variety of funding options, including the establishment of a Public-Private Partnership. Under this arrangement, a private group of companies could fund the early construction, operation, and maintenance of the highway and transitway in exchange for revenue generated from the facilities over an extended period of time.  Information on this initiative can be found at www.i-270corridorp3.com.
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