Montgomery County Transportation Program
In the last decade, securing funding for major transportation projects has become increasingly difficult. Diminishing state and federal revenue, a growing backlog of deferred maintenance, and inflation of construction costs have all contributed to the crisis. The Montgomery County Transportation Program was created as a result of an October 2008 Transportation Funding Forum focused on discussing new ways of funding our transportation system and to determine the role, if any, of county government.The forum hosted over 250 Montgomery County business leaders, elected officials, municipal managers, school district officials, and transportation professionals. Faced with the realization that growing congestion harms both local businesses and quality of life, the forum's participants unanimously agreed that the county should take steps to deal with the crisis by providing local funding for local projects.
The Montgomery County Transportation Program was recommended by the Montgomery County Commissioners in November 2008. The proposed ten-year, $150 million initiative to improve the transportation network in the county would, if approved by voters, provide local funding for local projects. In early 2009, the Montgomery County Commissioners awarded funding to five projects—a "jump start" of the full program—to demonstrate to the public how the program could be effective. The jump start projects were selected for their construction readiness, regional impact, opportunity for partnerships, and geographic diversity.In 2010, all of the jump start projects were completed. They are listed below:
- Final Summary of All Jump Start Projects
- Sumneytown Pike Widening Project (Upper Gwynedd Township)
- Matsonford Road Widening Project (West Conshohocken Borough)
- PA 611 Old York Road Signal Upgrade Project (Jenkintown Borough)
- PA 63/PA 29 New Traffic Signal Project (Green Lane Borough)
- PA 29 at 11th Street Signal Project (Pennsburg and Red Hill Boroughs)
R6 Norristown Line Service Extension Study
The Montgomery County Planning Commission (MCPC), in cooperation with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), has initiated the R6 Norristown Line Service Extension Study. The study will determine the feasibility of restoring passenger rail service between communities along the US Route 422 corridor in Montgomery, Chester, and Berks counties and Center City Philadelphia. As the region continues to grow, traffic is increasing along US Route 422. Commuter rail would provide another transportation option for residents commuting to King of Prussia, Norristown, Conshohocken, and Philadelphia and could also provide a catalyst for development and redevelopment in well established towns such as Phoenixville, Royersford, Pottstown, and Reading.
Over the past 15 years, feasibility studies, a major investment study, and a draft environmental impact statement (MIS/DEIS) of the Schuylkill Valley Metro (SVM) concept linking Reading to Philadelphia via King of Prussia were prepared for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) with the hope that SVM would be eligible for federal dollars to help pay for the $2.2 billion project. The financial considerations of the project led the FTA to rank SVM as "Not Recommended" and the project is no longer being pursued. However, local officials, businesses, and residents continue to support the restoration of passenger rail service in the area. Through the R6 Norristown Service Extension Study, Montgomery County is exploring lower-cost rail options and various innovative funding sources to determine whether rail service may still be viable in the corridor. From autumn 2007 to spring 2009, MCPC worked with a consultant team of engineers and planners to analyze service and funding alternatives that resulted in recommendations for a potential commuter rail service.
In a separate initiative, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's CEO Council for Growth is studying the financial and institutional arrangements that would support the restoration of rail service along the R6 line. To take advantage of this opportunity, MCPC invited the CEO Council for Growth to participate in and contribute to the county’s R6 Norristown Line Service Extension Study.
Project Information and Feedback
- R6 Norristown Line Service Extension Study - Final Report (9 MB)
- R6 Norristown Line Service Extension Study - Executive Summary
- Study Area Map
- Study Fact Sheet
- Media Advisory
- Press Release
Northwestern Montgomery County Strategic Plan
The northwestern part of Montgomery County is one of the most rural areas in our region.While most county residents have several options to get around, residents in the northwest must rely on their own cars. And when the cost of gas gets high, these residents find themselves financially pinched without having other alternatives.
This was the case in 2008, when gas rose above $4 per gallon. Residents petitioned their elected officials for mass transit, who asked the Montgomery County Planning Commission to study the issue.
The result is the Northwestern Montgomery County Strategic Transit Plan.Begun in 2009 and finished in 2010, the plan worked with a wide committee of local leaders, businesses, and transportation professionals to investigate the feasibility of transit and set forth a vision for future routes.
For more information about the plan, call Matt Edmond, Senior Transportation Planner, at 610.278.3742.
- Northwestern Montgomery County Strategic Transit Plan (FINAL REPORT)
Quakertown Branch Passenger Rail
The Bethlehem Branch is a SEPTA-owned rail line that runs from Lansdale Borough to the village of Shelly in Richland Township, Bucks County. Passenger rail service along the Bethlehem line stopped in the early 1980s. Efforts to restart passenger rail service have been ongoing for the last decade.
The first Quakertown/Stony Creek Rail Restoration Study, completed in 2000, examined the potential reactivation of passenger rail service, along with improvement of the existing rail freight service. The study concluded that in terms of operating ratio and performance measures, restoration of passenger rail service over the Bethlehem line is both feasible and viable.
The follow-up Quakertown Rail Restoration Study will carry on the 2007 Quakertown Rail Reactivation Study. The study is intended to refine the alternatives (up to five new alternatives), ridership forecasts, operating and capital cost estimates, and FTA summit benefits calculation.
Refined alternatives for the Quakertown Rail service restoration were prepared, and the capital improvement and operating cost assumptions were updated. Capital and operating cost estimates for the refined alternatives were also prepared. Here are the results of the study and the link to the new Lansdale-Quakertown Corridor Alternatives Analysis.