Montgomery in Focus Masthead
September 2009


Endorsing Light Rail for Purple Line - back to top

Martin O'Malley and Nancy FloreenLast month, I joined Governor Martin O'Malley and other stakeholders to endorse light rail as the mode of transit for the Purple Line, which I'm sure you know is a proposed 16-mile extended east-west link to the Metrorail system from the Bethesda to the New Carrollton stations. The light rail supporters gathered at the New Carrollton Metrorail Station.

The Purple Line would connect the four branches of the Metrorail system, three MARC commuter rail routes and several inside-the-Beltway activity centers (including Bethesda, Silver Spring, Langley Park, the University of Maryland's College Park campus, Riverdale and New Carrollton). The estimated cost of the project is between $1.2 and $1.3 billion. Planners from the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) hope construction can begin in 2012.

In January, the County Council unanimously recommended light rail be selected for the Purple Line. That followed a similar recommendation from the Council's Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, which I chair.

I am glad that Governor O'Malley has decided that the Purple Line is right for Montgomery County, and light rail is right for the Purple Line. Ridership on the Purple Line is projected as high as about 63,000 daily for a light rail system, including approximately 20,000 new riders to mass transit. The other projected riders would be those who already use a form of mass transit, but would find their commutes greatly enhanced through shorter, more reliable trips.

Planners estimate that final design of the Purple Line would be ready by Fall 2011.


Join Me at Whole Foods for Habitat for Humanity - back to top

volunteers building a house Whole Foods and Habitat for Humanity are teaming up. Shop at Montgomery County Whole Foods Market on Wednesday, September 9, between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., and five percent of your purchase will go straight to Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County to support affordable homeownership opportunities right here in our community. I'll even bag your groceries for you.

Why do I support Habitat for Humanity? This fantastic organization works with individuals, institutions, businesses, and the Habitat families themselves to build simple, decent, energy efficient, affordable housing for those living in substandard conditions. This work benefits not just families but entire communities and the County as a whole.


Tower Oaks Goes Platinum - back to top

Congratulations to The Tower Companies and Lerner Enterprises on having their 2000 Tower Oaks Boulevard project certified as one of the first commercial LEED Platinum office buildings in the State of Maryland.

  • Here are some of the features that make the building so great:
    designed Earn the ENERGY STAR and reduced total building energy consumption by 28%;
  • Green-E certified Renewable Energy Certificates were purchased for 100% wind power for the building’s total annual electric energy usage;
  • a four-stage air filtration system circulates at least 30% more outside air than required by code, turns over every 51 minutes, controls odors and removes over 90% of airborne contaminants;
  • outdoor airflow devices and CO2 monitors increase fresh air when necessary;
  • reduced building water consumption by 41%, drought resistant plantings reduce the required water for irrigation by 60%, and condensate water provides 100% of the building’s irrigation needs;
  • stormwater runoff is captured and treated (naturally filtered) on-site in the stormwater pond;
  • 90% of occupants have outside views;
  • night-sky light pollution and light trespass from the site is minimized;
  • electromagnetic field (EMF) shielding around all major electrical rooms;
  • 22% of the total building materials contain recycled content and 22% of the building materials were extracted and manufactured within a 500-mile radius; and
  • over 85% of the construction waste was recycled.

With these enhancements, the project qualifies for the Maryland Green Building Tax Credit and will earn credits of over $1.6 million.  I was glad to join Comptroller Peter Franchot, The Tower Companies partner Jeffrey Abramson and Lerner Enterprises principal and CEO, Theodore N. Lerner at this week’s certification event.  And I’m looking forward to more green projects like this one coming to Montgomery County.


Tunnel Talk With Jed Millard - back to top

Jed says:

In August, Metro officials announced that five, four person anti-terrorism teams will be added to the Metro Transit Police at a cost of about $10 million to the federal government. Currently, the department does not have a specific counter-terrorism unit but does conduct annual training for police and operations personnel. The teams will be formed from within and 20 new officers will be recruited to fill their places. The primary function of the new anti-terror teams will be to increase police visibility and random patrols throughout the system, respond quickly to suspicious packages and gather intelligence that could be shared with federal agencies. Will the addition of 20 new officers make the visible impact that Metro is expecting? Will you feel safer?


Fast Fact - back to top

Nearly 95 percent of Montgomery County's companies are considered small businesses. Together, they are a strong and powerful engine that drives our economy. Under the newly enacted Local Small Business Reserve Program (LSBRP), Montgomery County's departments and agencies have made a commitment to allocate 20 percent of their purchases of goods and services for the small business community. For more information and to find out if your business is eligible, visit the LSBRP Web site.


Note to Newsletter Editors - back to top

Did you find something useful in this e-newsletter? Some people have asked me if they can use the material from my newsletter in their own civic association or HOA newsletters. The answer is yes. I provide this information to help residents find what they need and participate in the legislative process, so feel free to use it.


Green Tip of the Month - back to top

Take the Car Free Day Pledge on September 22, and you will be eligible to win some great prizes. You can still pledge and win prizes even if you’re already using alternative transportation modes, such as bicycles, transit, teleworking, and carpooling. When you participate, you'll not only get a chance to win prizes, but you'll also help to improve air quality, save money and reduce your carbon footprint.