Gov. Larry Hogan brought a smile to the face of one state senator from Montgomery County Monday when he announced the state would fund the cost of the county’s free shuttle bus program that will transport local commuters between stations during Metro’s SafeTrack repairs on the Red Line later this year.
At a press conference in Potomac, Hogan said the shuttle bus plan organized by the county will help transport Metro riders and ease commuting problems created by Metro’s plans to single-track lines and shutdown stations to make the repairs. The county estimated the shuttle service will cost between $350,000 and $1 million. Hogan agreed to provide $1 million in state funds to help pay for it.
“This will help ensure that citizens of Montgomery County will be able to get to work and go about their daily lives in an efficient manner while Metro repairs take place,” Hogan said.
State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-District 17) sent Hogan a letter in June requesting the state help the county pay for the shuttle bus service because the state is a member of the Metro compact, while the county is not. The compact guides the funding and operations of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Maryland is a member along with Washington, D.C., and Virginia.
“I’m thrilled,” Kagan said Monday. “The governor clearly understood the implications of people in Gaithersburg and Rockville trying to get to work during the Metro repairs.”
The county plans to use Ride On buses to transport Metro riders when repairs are made to tracks in the Rockville and Silver Spring areas later this year.
“I think it was good for him to [fund the shuttles],” County Executive Ike Leggett said Monday of Hogan’s decision. “We’re going to have a real challenge starting next month and especially this fall when we’re trying to move people through those corridors.”
The county plans to provide the free shuttle buses during morning and afternoon rush hours between the Silver Spring and Takoma stations from Aug. 1 to 7 when the Red Line will be single-tracking. Shuttle bus service is also planned to help transport commuters during single-tracking between the Shady Grove and Twinbrook stations Aug. 9 to 18 and again from Oct. 10 to Nov. 1 between the Silver Spring and Fort Totten stations when the Red Line will be closed between Fort Totten and NoMa.