Thursday, January 19, 2012

Committee Recommends Rapid Transit for CCT

Today the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee unanimously recommended bus rapid transit (BRT) for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) in light of a study showing a greater economic benefit to the County if the project is built sooner. If the full Council agrees, this will mark a change from our earlier decision to support light rail transit (LRT).

The study, which was commissioned by the Maryland Department of Transportation, assumes that the first segment of BRT (to Metropolitan Grove) could begin construction in 2018 and be completed in 2020 and that the second segment (to COMSAT in Clarksburg) could begin in 2026 and be completed in 2028. On the other hand, LRT could begin in 2028 and be completed in 2031—11 years later than BRT—and the second segment could begin in 2038 and be completed in 2040—12 years later than BRT.

The study found that the present value economic impact in the Life Sciences Corridor would be 74 percent higher, employment would be 54 percent higher, and present value tax impact would be 76 percent higher if the CCT could be build sooner.

Given the huge boost to our economy, I see this as a no-brainer, and I fully support changing our recommendation to BRT. We need the CCT, and we need it sooner rather than later.

The full Council will take up the committee’s recommendation on January 24. The Governor will make the final determination about which mode the State will submit to the U.S. Department of Transportation for funding.

For more information, see the analysis we used for today’s meeting.

1 comment:

Wayne Phyillaier said...

It should be noted that the study found that the economic benefit for BRT would be greater than LRT only up to year 2050, given that BRT could be built much sooner. The study did not attempt to evaluate total economic benefit beyond 2050, or over the lifetime of the BRT and LRT systems. Given the 11 year "head start" that BRT was assumed to have in the study, it is not surprising the study found BRT would still be ahead in economic return by 2050.

I do not disagree with today's decision, given the strong need to get an economic benifit sooner than later. But the study did not attempt to estimate total economic benefit of BRT vs. LRT over the life of the systems. LRT could catch up and pass BRT in total economic return beyond the cut-off period of this study.