Tuesday, February 26, 2013

County Executive Ike Leggett Delivers State of County Address

Speaking before hundreds of County residents at the Silver Spring Civic Building on February 20, County Executive Ike Leggett said that, “the state of Montgomery County is strong – and growing stronger.” Among the many topics covered by the address were the County’s future transportation needs and how to pay for them. 

Leggett said, “Montgomery County is on a journey of progress. But, we cannot move forward without a transportation system that meets our needs, now and in the future. This is why we have three new major transportation projects that must be built within the next decade – and will keep our County moving for decades to come.

“First, the Purple Line, 16 miles of light rail, will run from Bethesda to New Carrollton, connecting the County with the University of Maryland in College Park. Second, the Corridor Cities Transitway will be a 15-mile-long bus rapid transit system traveling from the Shady Grove Metro station to the COMSAT site in Southern Clarksburg with 16 transit stations along the route. It will save the average commuter time, reduce the dependency on cars and carry up to 47,000 people daily by 2035. Third, the Rapid Transit Vehicle System (RTV) will create a transit network across the County, north to south and east to west. Riders will travel in stylish vehicles called RTV’s that could carry as many as 140 passengers per vehicle.

“We can’t build these critical transportation projects unless we can pay for them.
Montgomery County is doing its part. But we can’t – and we shouldn’t – have to shoulder the burden all alone. Several years ago, I virtually stood alone in advocating for an increase in the State’s gasoline tax. It wasn’t popular then, and it isn’t popular now. But we needed it then, and we still need it now. In fact, we need an increase in transportation revenue now more than ever before.

“That’s why I call upon the State legislature to do the difficult thing, the courageous thing, the necessary thing and the right thing: Pass an increase in the state’s gasoline tax now. It hasn’t been increased since 1992 –when George Bush Senior was President. This will help replenish the State’s Transportation Trust Fund and assist counties throughout the State to advance major transportation infrastructure.

Montgomery County is Maryland’s economic engine. Investing in transportation in our County pays off big time for all Marylanders.”

Leggett also cited the County’s progress in improving pedestrian safety. 

He said, “Speaking of saving lives, our five-year investment in pedestrian safety, based on the comprehensive blueprint for action I advanced in 2007, is paying off. For example, we have:

  • Reduced pedestrian fatalities from a high of 19 in 2008 to six in 2012;
  • Reduced all collisions by 12 percent overall and by 45 percent in locations with the highest concentrations of collisions; and
 The entire speech is available on the County’s website