Council to Target Special Tax for Bikeshare Funding


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Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) and Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) will introduce a bill tomorrow that would allow funds from a special development tax to be used for downcounty bikesharing stations. Montgomery County is hoping to join the Capital Bikeshare program with 350 bikes and 50 downcounty docking stations in Friendship Heights, Bethesda, the Medical Center Metro station area, Silver Spring and Takoma Park by next spring. A recent report from Examiner.com cited one county transportation official as saying a $1 million state grant would cover only about 30 of the 50 planned stations. In May, the county estimated the total cost for the downcounty bikeshare system to be $2.15 million. The county expects a portion of the $500,000 annual operating cost to be offset by membership fees and private sector sponsorships. Berliner and Ervin's bill would allow the county to use transportation impact tax funds to build and maintain the system, potentially as a way to help close the gap. Developers of new projects must pay the special impact tax "to fund, in part, the improvements necessary to increase the transportation or public school systems capacity, thereby allowing development to proceed." Improvements under the tax now include the creation of new roads or the widening of existing roads, new Ride On buses and new bus shelters, among others. Berliner and Ervin will also introduce a zoning text amendment that would allow building permits for bikeshare facilities without an approved site plan. Capital Bikeshare passed the two million rides mark in May and recently launched in Alexandria, Va. The program provides bikesharing stations in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Va. Flickr photo by James D. Schwartz

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