The state assembly has asked the department of transportation to begin research and planning for a rapid transit line that would connect residents with jobs in Washington, D.C. and reduce traffic congestion in the region.
Southern Maryland workers may soon have more public transit options. Well, as soon as the state can “undertake all steps necessary to complete the design, engineering, and [environmental] process and secure a record of decision for the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit Project.”
According to an article by Bruce DePuyt in Maryland Matters, “Transportation experts have spent decades looking at the feasibility of building a transit line to serve Southern Maryland, but projects in other parts of the state always loomed larger in the eyes of policymakers.” Now, the General Assembly has tasked the state’s Department of Transportation with moving forward on a transit plan, thanks in part to $5 million federal earmark secured by state lawmakers. The article quotes State Senator Arthur Ellis (D-Charles), who says that 77 percent of the region’s working adults regularly commute to Washington, D.C., adding that they face the “worst commute in the nation.”
The project was recommended by a 2017 analysis, which “concluded that an 18.7 mile bus rapid transit system along the US 301/MD 5 corridor, from White Plains in Charles County to the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station in Prince George’s County, would be more cost-effective than light rail.” The report also supported transit-oriented development (TOD), adding, “TOD will provide higher land use density/intensity, help increase transit ridership to maximize transit investment, encourage economic growth and job creation, reduce the jobs-to-housing imbalance along the MD 5/US 301 corridor, and promote alternative transportation modes (e.g., walking, biking, transit) to reduce or eliminate the need to commute via automobile.”
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