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Selection of the New MCDOT Director

Joint Letter of Five Organizations to County Executive Leggett
December 23, 2014

With General Arthur Holmes retiring after many fruitful years of service, the county faces an important choice for new leadership at the Department of Transportation. We – a broad cross section of interests in our community – write to you out of a common desire to maintain and improve our livable environment and flourishing economy in an evolving transportation landscape. For that purpose, we have outlined some criteria to consider as you make your decision about this influential position.

The ideal criteria for a MCDOT Director include:

Changing preferences in living style and demographic trends place new demands on the transportation system. Facilities designed for a largely suburban county in which automobile travel predominated now serve a far more diverse community. We are a mosaic of rural, suburban, and urban neighborhoods, and each section of the county has its own transportation needs. Automobiles, bicycles, trains, buses, and pedestrian routes must not merely coexist, they must work together as a transportation system that will support and encourage much of the county's future growth to occur in mixed use higher density walkable transit-served neighborhoods.

Beyond that, our transportation system must respond to the sustainability demands of the 21st century. We live in a time of both environmental and fiscal stress, for governments and the private sector alike. The approach of solving problems by doing more of what we’ve always done is neither effective nor affordable.

MCDOT should meet these challenges by adopting a culture of efficient planning, plan approval, implementation and execution. Flexible, context-sensitive design should replace by-the-book engineering especially in urbanizing parts of the County where space constraints affect easements, access and design. Problems should be solved whenever possible with creativity focused on results rather than time-consuming studies. Rapidly implemented on-the-ground fixes should be adjusted in the light of experience, and we should move on quickly if they don’t work.

We join with many others in the belief that MCDOT needs a visionary leader with the skill set to implement innovation. New York, Chicago, and the District of Columbia have shown how strong leadership can bring transformation. Montgomery County belongs with them in the forefront of new transportation solutions. Our county deserves no less.

Thank you for your continued leadership and we look forward to working with you and the new Director of Transportation on continuing to make Montgomery County a great place to work, live and play.


Action Committee for Transit
Nick Brand, President

2014 Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS
Gregory Ford, President

Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
Georgette “Gigi” Godwin, President and CEO

Sierra Club, Montgomery County Group
David Sears, Chair

Washington Area Bicyclist Association
Shane Farthing,Executive Director