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Fiscal 2014 Budget

Testimony to County Council, April 11, 2013

Bethesda South Entrance – now that the General Assembly has (thankfully!) passed the transportation funding bill, the reason for the 6-month delay in the CIP budget to fund the Bethesda South Entrance no longer applies. We need the south entrance to get started as soon as possible. Frequent escalator breakdowns at Bethesda, plus the feeble and small elevator cannot handle the passenger load – elderly, disabled, and people traveling with small children cannot manage climbing a stopped escalator “staircase” and the sooner we can get the bank of high speed elevators in, the better.

Move forward with the WMATA Priority Corridors Network plan – this plan coincides closely with the corridors in the Planning Board’s BRT Transit Corridors. Advancing WMATA’s plan to run limited stop service in these corridors, with dedicated lanes and signal priorities will provide a sampling of the future BRT network on much less expensive scale. Kinks can be worked out as WMATA buses serve the corridors, which will provide useful data for the contemplated robust BRT network the county is planning.

Montrose Parkway East – reserve enough room for MARC third track. While it would be lovely to have a continuous third track throughout the MARC Brunswick Corridor, MARC has indicated that even having third tracks in various locations (i.e., not totally interconnected) would improve the flow of freight and passenger trains, which today are frequently trying to occupy the tracks at the same time. CSX will not allow MARC to add any more trains to the Brunswick Line until there is a third track -- so no two-way service, no all-day service. But if one train could pull off on the third track siding to let the other train pass, this could really free up the schedule for passenger rail.

Revisit free parking on Ellsworth - The county's contractual obligation to provide Foulger Pratt with free evening parking on Ellsworth ends during the next fiscal year. The budget should provide for charging for evening parking in downtown Silver Spring as soon as possible. Restaurants not near Ellsworth have argued that free parking on Ellsworth puts them at a disadvantage. Charging for parking would level the playing field among businesses as well as provide additional revenue.