Council Committee Supports New Bethesda Metro Entrance Funding
Transportation committee votes to include funding in six-year spending plan, countering Leggett's recommendation.
A Montgomery County Council transportation committee voted Monday against deferring the majority of construction funds for the new planned entrance to the Bethesda Metro station, The Washington Post reports.
In his proposed capital spending plan, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) recommended pushing construction funds for the entrance past the six-year planning period, Patch reported last month.
The new south entrance to the Metro station would add a total of six high-speed elevators between the street level at Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street, the Red Line Metro station, and a planned Bethesda station on the Purple Line.
Since the design of the new entrance is linked to the planned light rail, officials didn't want to tie up capital funds in the proposed six-year plan for the new Metro entrance because federal funds for the Purple Line have yet to be secured and it’s unclear when the project will move forward, county spokesman Patrick Lacefield told Patch in January.
But the proposal to delay construction funds drew fire from transportation advocates, who said another entrance is desperately needed, Patch reported.
The council’s transportation committee voted Monday to defer only $15.9 million of the $43.7 million in construction funds, the Post reported.
Including funds for the project in the capital spending plan would show the council’s commitment to the Purple Line and give the project a boost in the competition for federal funds, said County Council President and transportation committee chair Roger Berliner (D), the Washington Examiner reported.
At the least, the new entrance would provide a much-needed alternative to the current entrance escalators, Berliner said, NBC Washington reported.
"As everyone in this community knows, those escalators break a lot. They are literally dangerous to public health,” Berliner said, according to NBC Washington.