Arlington-to-Frederick transit proposal alive, but on life support

A proposal for an Arlington-to-Frederick transit (bus) line is still on the drawing board, but did not score well in a recent cost-benefit analysis.

Proposed transit service connecting Arlington to Frederick (Md.) and points in between remains on the table, but barely, after scoring low in a recent cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Virginia and Maryland state governments.

The proposed routing scored ninth of out 11 possibilities being considered by the  Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the Maryland Department of Transportation/Maryland Transit Administration as the agencies mull ways to use bus service to ease traffic congestion in the American Legion Bridge corridor connecting Fairfax and Montgomery counties.

As envisioned, the transit route would start at Frederick six times each workday morning and terminate an hour later at the Pentagon, with intermediate stops at Monocacy, Urbana, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Montgomery Mall and Rosslyn. The route would be reversed in an equal number of trips in the afternoon.

Like virtually all transit, routes would require subsidies to augment passenger fares, as the analysis estimates the need to garner $19.83 per embarked rider just to cover operating costs (excluding capital costs, which themselves are substantial but are not counted in compiling per-trip costs).

The Arlington-to-Frederick proposal may be near the tail end of options being considered, but it remains alive, based on an Oct. 16 public briefing. All other proposed routings involving Arlington (to Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring and White Oak) have been scratched from consideration.

The top five transit routings, based on preliminary analyses, are Bethesda to Dunn Loring via Tysons Corner; Bethesda to Tysons West; Gaithersburg to Tysons West;  Bethesda to Tysons East; and Germantown to Tysons West.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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