Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area/Largo Metrorail Extension

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Largo Metrorail Extension

Washington, DC

(November 1998)

Description

The Maryland Mass Transit Administration (MTA) is the lead local agency planning a proposed 3.1 mile heavy rail (surface, below- and above-grade segments) extension of the Washington Metrorail Blue Line from the existing Addison Road Station to Largo Town Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The project is a joint effort between the MTA and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which will operate the system. The project serves the metropolitan Washington, DC region, and follows an alignment in central Prince George’s County that has been preserved as a rail transit corridor in the County’s Master Plan. Two new stations will be provided: the Summerfield Station, just west of Summerfield Boulevard and north of MD-214 (Central Avenue); and the Largo Town Center Station, located just beyond the Capital Beltway within Largo Town Center. The stations will provide 500 and 2,200 park-and-ride spaces, respectively, plus a hundred or more kiss-and-ride spaces and 11 bus bays each. A number of WMATA bus routes and Prince George’s County local bus routes will connect to the two new stations; shuttle bus service is proposed between the Jack Kent Cooke Stadium and both stations. The project will also directly serve the USAirways Arena. MTA will manage the project through final design, with WMATA undertaking construction. The project is estimated to open for service in 2005, at a cost of $397 million (in escalated dollars).

Largo Metrorail Extension Summary Description

Proposed Project Heavy Rail Extension;
3.1 miles, 2 stations
Total Capital Cost ($YOE) $397.1 million
Section 5309 Share ($YOE) $316.1 million
Annual Operating Cost ($1997) $755 million
Ridership Forecast (2020) 28,540 average weekday boardings
15,300 daily new riders
FY 2000 Financial Rating: Medium
FY 2000 Project Justification Rating: Medium-High
FY 2000 Overall Project Rating: Recommended

The overall project rating applies to this Annual New Starts Report and reflects conditions as of November 1998. Project evaluation is an ongoing process. As new starts projects proceed through development, the estimates of costs, benefits, and impacts are refined. The FTA ratings and recommendations will be updated annually to reflect new information, changing conditions, and refined financing plans.

Status

The proposed Largo Extension was approved as an addition to the 103-mile Metrorail Adopted Regional System in February 1997, contingent on completion of the FEIS and FTA issuance of a ROD and financial plan approval. The project is included in the National Capital Region’s Constrained Long Range Plan.

Preliminary engineering was initiated in February 1996. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was completed and approved by FTA in October 1996. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is anticipated to be completed in January 1999; a Record of Decision (ROD) is expected by early Spring 1999.

Section 3030(a)(93) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) authorizes the "Washington, DC – Largo Extension" for final design and construction. Congress appropriated $1 million for this project in FY 1999.

Evaluation

The following criteria have been estimated in conformance with FTA’s Technical Guidance on Section 5309 New Starts Criteria for the 3.1 mile extension. N/A indicates that data are not available for a specific measure.

Justification

Mobility Improvements

Rating: Medium

MTA estimates the following annual travel time savings.

Mobility Improvements New Start vs. No-Build New Start vs. TSM
Annual Travel Time Savings (Hours) 1.7 million 1.1 million

Based on 1990 Census data, there are an estimated 46 low-income households within a ½ mile radius of the proposed 2 new stations, equivalent to approximately 5 percent of total households within ½ mile radius of the proposed stations.

Environmental Benefits

Rating: Medium

The Washington, DC Metropolitan area is a serious non-attainment area for ozone, and a moderate non-attainment area for carbon monoxide. MTA estimates that in 2020, the Largo Metrorail Extension would result in the following annual emissions reductions. Note that an increase in carbon dioxide is estimated compared to the No-Build alternative.

Criteria Pollutant New Start vs. No-Build New Start vs. TSM
Carbon Monoxide (CO) decrease of 94 annual tons N/A
Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) decrease of 722 annual tons N/A
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) decrease of 39 annual tons N/A
Particulate Matter (PM10) decrease of 34 annual tons N/A
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) increase of 2,740 annual tons N/A

MTA estimates that in 2020, the Largo Metrorail Extension would result in the following savings in regional energy consumption (measured in British Thermal Units – BTU).

Annual Energy Savings New Start vs. No-Build New Start vs. TSM
BTU (millions) decrease of 19,499 million annual BTU N/A

Operating Efficiencies

Rating: Medium

MTA estimates no change in the systemwide operating cost per passenger mile in the year 2020 for the Largo Metrorail Extension compared to the No-Build alternative.

Operating Efficiencies No-Build TSM New Start
System Operating Cost per Passenger Mile (2020) $0.36 N/A $0.36

Values reflect 2020 ridership forecast and 1997 dollars.

Cost Effectiveness

Rating: Medium-High

MTA estimates the following cost effectiveness index for the new start to no build comparison. No data were provided for the new start to TSM comparison.

Cost Effectiveness New Start vs. No-Build New Start vs. TSM
Incremental Cost per Incremental Passenger $7.87 N/A

Values reflect 2020 ridership forecast and 1997 dollars.

Transit-Supportive Existing Land Use and Future Patterns

Rating: Medium-High

The Medium-High Land Use rating reflects the extension’s connection to the Washington metropolitan area CBD and local efforts to foster transit-oriented development around proposed station areas. The proposed Largo Metrorail Extension serves the suburban towns of Landover and Largo-Lottsford, Maryland, and traverses medium-density single-family suburban residential development interspersed with multi-family housing, office parks, civic uses, two major professional sports/entertainment facilities, recreational parks, and undeveloped land. Regionally, population and employment growth is forecast at 44 percent to 2020, whereas a 58 percent population growth rate and a 140 percent employment growth rate are forecast for the extension study area. Under a June 1998 Prince George’s County planning study, existing and future transit station areas are designated as "targeted growth areas" with attendant revisions in zoning and public facilities ordinances in the context of Maryland’s "Smart Growth Initiative" to accomplish this objective. Both Town Plans call for increased residential densities in station areas, as well as mixed-use and transit-oriented activity centers. Future development will be integrated with the transit stations, with office components oriented towards the stations. These plans also call for enhanced pedestrian amenities and streetscape elements to improve overall access and safety. The Largo Station will serve as the new terminus for the Metrorail Blue Line, serving the Washington, DC CBD, and will provide 2200 parking spaces. The County’s General Plan includes provisions for parking reductions, use of structured parking, and incentives for development near transit. Several joint development opportunities are being considered, including shared parking with the Capital Centre.

Local Financial Commitment

Proposed Non-Section 5309 Share of Total Project Costs: 20%

MTA proposes $316.1 million (80 percent) in Section 5309 new starts funds and $81 million (20 percent) of State funds.

Stability and Reliability of Capital Financing Plan

Rating: Medium

The capital plan is rated Medium based on the absence of an approved State financial commitment to the project, although the proposed local source --- the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund (MTTF) --- provides a stable revenue source for capital projects throughout the State. The Maryland Transportation Trust Fund (MTTF) would be the source of local-match funding for this MTA-sponsored project, as it is for all State transportation capital projects. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has an overall debt limit of $1.2 billion, with $868 million outstanding as of January 1, 1998, and receives the second highest bond rating in the capital market. Revenues allocated to the MTTF exceed $2 billion annually, with stable and reliable --- but not inflation sensitive --- revenue streams from its two largest sources, motor fuel and titling taxes. Historically, significant revenue growth only results from statutory increases in specific user fees. Bonding capacity exists, and MDOT/MTA intends to reprogram funds for transit to leverage the Federal share. Capital cost estimates have been updated based on the continuing development of Preliminary Engineering plans and the Final Environmental Impact Statement. A 10 percent cost contingency is built into the cost estimate, which will be reevaluated as the project advances through stages requiring more rigorous engineering. The MTTF has additional capability to issue debt should the need arise.

Stability and Reliability of Operating Finance Plan

Rating: Medium-High

The Medium-High rating reflects the history of the WMATA Compact financial support and the State’s statutory requirement to fully fund the WMATA operating costs attributed to Maryland jurisdictions. The Maryland Department of Transportation and the MTA have committed to support the WMATA system through continued financing of WMATA operations over the past decades. These operations are secured by the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund (MTTF), with annual revenues exceeding $2 billion. The projected farebox recovery ratio of 71 percent is consistent with the Metrorail system average of 70 percent. Several joint development and value capture strategies, which have been successfully employed by WMATA for the Metrorail system, have been identified to generate revenue streams for the Largo Extension. Section

10-205 of the Annotated Code of Maryland requires the State of Maryland to pay the full share of operating deficits related to the project upon WMATA assuming operations of the Largo Metrorail Extension. The MTTF has sufficient financial capacity to fund this and any other Metrorail operating deficits allocated to the Maryland jurisdictions.

Locally Proposed Financing Plan

(Reported in $YOE)

Proposed Source of Funds Total Funding
($million)
Appropriations to Date
Federal: Section 5309 New Start $316.1 $1.0 million appropriated through FY 1999
State: $81.0

 

Total: $397.1

Note: Funding proposal reflects assumptions made by project sponsors, and are not DOT or FTA assumptions. Totals may not add due to rounding.

[Largo Metrorail Extension Map (PDF)]