The Coalition for Smarter Growth, an organization dedicated to promoting walkable and transit-oriented communities, has a new advocacy manager in its Montgomery County office.
Pete Tomao is taking over the position held by Kelly Blynn and said as the new advocacy manager he hopes to work on increasing transportation choices for the county.
“Whether that is through more bicycle lanes, more 8-car trains on Metro, expanded RideOn service, or a bus rapid transit system,” Tomao wrote in an email to MyMCMedia.
Tomao added there are a lot of “great plans and ideas circulating” in the county. Plans that, according to him, will be necessary to meet the population needs.
“By 2040, forecasts project that Montgomery County will have 70 [percent] more road congestion, 21 [percent] more residents, and 40 [percent] more jobs than today, so our need for a robust variety of transportation choices has never been greater. … from the bus rapid transit network to the Purple Line, to more Metro investment, to making it easier for people to bike or walk,” Tomao wrote.
Tomao is originally from Long Island, New York, and moved to the region to attend American University. He is also a former union and political organizer.
“I’m excited to be working for CSG and look forward to meeting many new friends and smart growth supporters in Montgomery,” Tomao wrote.
The new manager took the job during a busy time for transportation advocates. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced on June 24 the Purple Line– a proposed $2.44 billion light rail extending from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County- is scheduled to move forward. Tomao wrote he was glad the governor approved the project but “want to make sure that Montgomery and Prince George’s get the support and funding they need to successfully build the project.”
“We were disappointed by some of the announced service changes — decreased frequency and fewer train cars. That could have a negative effect on reliability and level of service, and will only be more expensive to fix in coming years. We still feel positive that the project is moving, but will be watching developments very closely in the coming months and will be prepared to help out where we can,” he wrote.
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