By Whitney Teal
About $650 million in state aid will help to fund key transportation projects in Montgomery County, Gov. Martin O’Malley and County Executive Isiah Leggett announced Monday.
Among the projects:
$25 million to build a relocated MD 97 around the historic Town of Brookeville;
$280 million to complete right-of-way acquisition and final design for the Purple Line;
$100 million to complete right-of-way acquisition and final design for the Corridor Cities Transitway, a proposed north-south bus rapid transit line from the Shady Grove Metro station to the COMSAT facility near Clarksburg;
$7 million in design funds to build two interchanges along U.S. 29, at Musgrove Road and Fairland Road, to replace existing intersections;
$3 million in planning funds for the MD 28 / MD 198 Corridor Transportation Improvement Study; and
$85 million in operating assistance for the County’s Ride On bus system through fiscal 2019.
Funds for the Purple Line, a 16-mile light rail between Bethesda and New Carrollton, now total about $800 million, but private dollars will still be needed to complete the project’s $2.2 billion price tag, O’Malley (D) said.
State legislators passed an increase in Maryland’s gas tax in May, vowing to use the extra money for state projects that included The Purple Line.
Leggett (D) had long advocated for a gas tax increase.
“For many years, I have vigorously advocated for a meaningful way to increase funding for transportation, and now for the first time in a generation, we are seeing the results with significant and long overdue transportation infrastructure investments for our priority projects,” he said in a statement after the announcement.