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Transportation Priorities

Testimony to Legislative Delegation, Nov. 20, 2013
Presented by Tina Slater, ACT President

As President of Action Committee for Transit, a 27-year old organization and voice for transit and walkability, we especially want to thank you for your commitment and success in getting the gas tax passed last session --- without that funding source, the Purple Line and many other projects important to our state would not be possible. For the 2014 session, we offer these specific comments:

1. Purple Line — After two and a half decades of planning, and now that a reliable source of funding is available, we need to make sure that the Purple Line does not falter on the last leg of its journey. Please help assure that the Purple Line makes it over the finish line by 2020.

2. MARC Brunswick Line Third Track &mdash Because CSX owns the tracks and is in the business of moving freight, MARC is not allowed to run more commuter service unless there is a third track. We need MTA to strengthen its commitment to add a third track to enable al1-day, two-way service. Meanwhile, Montgomery County must act now to reserve the right-of-way, else it will be harder to build the third track in the future. We need trains running all day in both directions on the MARC line from Union Station through Silver Spring and Rockville to Frederick. The benefits of this third track are many — it can help off-load some of the congestion in the overburdened I-270 corridor; plus, it supports plans for MARC-related transit-orienteddevelopment at Kensington and White Flint.

3. WMATA Funding --- MetroRail is the country's second largest transit system and the backbone of our Region's transportation infrastructure. Nationwide there are only three transit agencies that do not have a reliable funding source. Metro is one of them. Each year, Metro must make the case for renewed funding for existing capital improvements (escalators, safety improvements, new rail cars) to Congress and our regional partners. Metro can only plan for the future if it can predict its funding sources. This fluctuating funding problem must be addressed as part of Montgomery County's continued economic success.

ACT is excited about the possibility for new and improved transit, supportive of smart growth and transitoriented, walkable/bikeable redevelopment to improve people's mobility options. More TOD is vital --- both for our young people who want to live where they don't need a car, as well as for our aging Baby Boomers who are planning for the day when they no longer drive. We wish our Delegation much success in the 2014 session.