We must work to ensure all of our residents can traverse Montgomery County as efficiently as possible.

As I have driven to all the corners of Montgomery County over the last three years serving on the Board of Education visiting our communities and schools, I’ve experienced the traffic regularly. I also know the impact not having easily accessible, reliable public transportation has on our students and their families.

About a third of our students are impacted by poverty. Their parents need to get to jobs and must live in places they can afford – which may not be anywhere near their employment. We have some elementary schools with as much as 25% mobility rates, meaning one out of every four students enrolls or exits the school during the school year. We measure these rates because of the impact this indicator can have on a student.

By supporting myriad ways to relieve congestion, from tax credits for businesses that support telecommuting, to supporting the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Bicycle Master Plan, to targeting development around future and under-used transit hubs, we can create more ease in commutes and open up more access to opportunities.

The Bus Rapid Transit system, Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway are all in progress and moving forward. I’m very excited that Gov. Hogan and the Maryland legislature came together to support a bill that would give Metro permanent, additional funding of $150 million a year, pending agreement with Washington, D.C., and Virginia. They all have the capacity to relieve congestion and increase quality of life for residents in myriad ways. Accessibility to jobs and higher education is critical for fostering economic opportunity for our residents, raising incomes and increasing revenue to continue our high-quality services. In order for all of these efforts to be truly successful with optimum performance, all parties must work hand-in-hand to address resident concerns. All transactions must be transparent and publicly available and accessible. Needs and expectations of communities must be heard and taken into consideration. By honoring community recommendations, the viability of new public transportation options greatly increases