The ACT scorecard claims to be based on several criteria including public statements, answers to questionnaires and the candidate’s website. The rating does not reflect publicly available information available regarding Brandy Brooks’ views on transit or housing. The Brooks campaign has attempted to work with ACT representatives to clarify the misinformation.

“The Action Committee for Transit is a dedicated group of volunteers who have been doing tremendous work on Montgomery County transit issues for many years. We share a deep commitment to a transit vision for our county that adequately serves our communities and reduces our reliance on personal vehicle travel. So it’s tremendously frustrating to find my positions misrepresented by ACT when we should be working together to build the community power we need to ensure strong transit investments.”

Below are Brooks’s consistently stated positions on the areas for which ACT rated candidates. these positions are publicly available on Brandy’s website, and her questionnaires from Greater Greater Washington, Our Revolution Montgomery County, and Progressive Neighbors along with numerous other questionnaires and public statements Brandy has made over the past 13 months.

From Brandy’s Website:

The Purple Line is an important piece of transportation infrastructure for the County. It will greatly reduce travel times and traffic for people traveling between the major employment centers of Bethesda, Silver Spring and the University of Maryland. It will provide a much more efficient transit route between Maryland branches of the Metrorail system on the Green, Orange and Red Lines. It will strengthen our regional trail network by extending the Capital Crescent Trail and making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. With the July 2017 court ruling that allows construction to proceed, we need to move forward with the Purple Line.

From Greater Greater Washington Questionnaire:

Question 2: Are you committed to implementation of Vision Zero (zero traffic deaths)? What is the most important change to the roadways, law, or DOT practices that could bring about Vision Zero?

Answer: This statement says everything about why I support Vision Zero: “Human life takes priority over mobility and other objectives of the road system.” This clear and obvious priority must drive our approach to all roadway planning and implementation. I’m excited that Montgomery County is setting an example of leadership for other counties in the nation, not just with Vision Zero but also with the Pedestrian Safety Initiative.

The Vision Zero 2-Year Action Plan includes an critical statistic that is easy to overlook in the wealth of data: 53% of pedestrian fatalities and 50% of cyclist fatalities occur when these users are illegally in the roadway. What that tells me right away is that pedestrians and cyclists don’t have enough of the infrastructure they need to move around effectively while staying safe. I also live just off of the segment of University Boulevard W that has the highest number of collisions on a state-maintained road in the county, and my family’s experience on this roadway bears out this conclusion: we have extremely narrow sidewalks, no bike lanes, and a dearth of signal crosswalks at important places where pedestrians and cyclists need to cross the street – such as at Wheaton Forest Park, a heavily used neighborhood recreation space on University Blvd W where the nearest crosswalk is blocks away.

We must invest in better walking and biking infrastructure. Adding more crosswalks on University would require drivers to slow down and stop much more – but that’s a good thing, because speed is a key factor in whether or not a pedestrian survives a crash. We need to build infrastructure that clearly signals to drivers and all roadway users that we must share the road with one another, and that forces us to pay attention and respect one another’s lives.

From Our Revolution Montgomery County Questionnaire:

Question 10: How would you create a safer environment for pedestrians, bikers and drivers in Montgomery County?

Answer: Walking and biking paths are often overlooked when we think about building out our county’s transportation network. These can include not only larger trail projects like the Capital Crescent Trail, but also ensuring that there are good sidewalks on our neighborhood streets and walking paths between neighborhoods to make it easier for people in adjacent developments to connect with each other. I support the use of dedicated lanes and physical barriers, following current best practices for allowing pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to share the road safely. I also wanted to see increased investment in implementation of the VIsion Zero Plan to end traffic fatalities for all roadway users.

From Progressive Neighbors Questionnaire:

Question: Where do you stand on bus rapid transit and what else would you propose to reduce car traffic and increase pedestrian accessibility and safety?

Answer: Full implementation of all currently proposed Bus Rapid Transit corridors (Rts. 29, 355, 586) and the Corridor Cities Transitway are two of my top transit priorities. These projects will expand and improve transportation options in grossly underserved areas of our county – White Oak, Burtonsville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Clarksburg – where existing and planned development needs to be properly supported with infrastructure. We must also continue to improve non-BRT bus service for all parts of the county.

Walking and biking paths are often overlooked when we think about building out our county’s transportation network. These can include not only larger bike trail projects like the Capital Crescent Trail, but also ensuring that there are good sidewalks on our neighborhood streets and walking paths between neighborhoods to make it easier for people in adjacent developments to connect with each other.

We must protect and fully fund our regional public transit system so that it is safe, affordable, and accessible for all users. WMATA needs a dedicated funding stream so that it can maintain and operate a safe and effective transit system that is central to our regional economy and quality of life.

** Affordable Housing Near Transit is a platform position that has been public online since the campaign launched. **

From Brandy’s Website:

Housing and transit go hand in hand: more residents boost the number of riders on public transit, while public transit makes a community more desirable to live in. However, without an intentional focus on preserving and expanding affordable housing in areas where new transit is planned, public transportation becomes a force for displacing or excluding residents when housing becomes too expensive. Transit investments in all areas of the County must be combined with a commitment to housing for all residents.

From Greater Greater Washington Questionnaire:

Question 4: To meet the need for homes in Montgomery County as identified by the county’s recent Rental Housing Study, would you support zoning changes to streamline approval for multifamily housing and with reduced minimum parking requirements within 1/2 mile of Metro and 1/4 mile of Purple Line, MARC, and BRT stations?

Answer: I would support this change. However, it must be paired with ongoing community-centered planning for the areas around transit stations, to ensure that transit improvements benefit existing residents and businesses as well as those who will come in the future. We must preserve existing and develop new affordable housing and commercial space, and we need to preserve and expand essential community spaces and green spaces in near transit stations. We must prioritize the construction and preservation of affordable housing and commercial space in all of our land use planning. We also need to bring to our county the best policy innovations from around the country that have been used to protect the affordability of existing neighborhoods when new development is imminent, such as the use of community-based land trusts to give communities more control over land use decisions.

From Our Revolution Montgomery County Questionnaire:

Question 14: Zoning laws and ordinances have sometimes subtly and other times overtly been used as a way of creating segregation. Some other localities have looked at creating building height minimums, easing parking restrictions and allowing for more mixed use areas near transit. What policies would you like to implement to help create more affordable housing and more enjoyable neighborhoods?

Answer: We need ongoing community-centered planning for all areas of the county, to ensure that all neighborhoods receive equitable investment and that development benefits existing residents and businesses as well as those who will come in the future. We must prioritize the construction and preservation of affordable housing and commercial space in all of our land use planning, and create the community spaces and green spaces that support our civic life and social connectivity. We need to bring to our county the best policy innovations from around the country that have been used to give communities more control over land use decisions, such as the use of community-based land trusts.

Two specific zoning changes could have a tremendous positive effect on affordable housing. The first would make it easier for homeowners to subdivide their home into multiple units. This is common in other parts of the country, and helps both to generate new housing and to create a revenue stream that make homeownership affordable for more people. The second change would permit the creation of accessory dwelling units (sometimes known as “in-law apartments”) on lots of sufficient size. These two changes would empower thousands of current homeowners to create the affordable housing our communities so desperately need – and would do so with less disruption to the existing fabric and character of our neighborhoods.

From Our Revolution Montgomery County Questionnaire:

Question 9:  What steps would you take to reduce average travel time and vehicle carbon emissions in Montgomery County? Identify any transportation projects currently under consideration that you particularly support or oppose (for example, would you favor adding a reversible bus lane on US 29 or expanding MARC train service to be all day bi-directional and to include weekend service) and how you would prioritize them.

Answer: We have huge race, class, and geographic inequities when it comes to transportation access in Montgomery County. We need a fully multi-modal transportation network that reaches east, west, and up-county. Roads, light rail and heavy rail are all critical parts of the transit network. But strong bus systems, bike paths and walking paths also make up our public transit infrastructure. We must ensure that our local transportation system in all its modes reaches as deep into the county as possible and that each mode gets users efficiently to where they need to go.

Full implementation of all currently proposed Bus Rapid Transit corridors (Rts. 29, 355, 586) and the Corridor Cities Transitway are two of my top transit priorities. These projects will expand and improve transportation options in grossly underserved areas of our county – White Oak, Burtonsville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Clarksburg – where existing and planned development needs to be properly supported with infrastructure. We must also continue to improve non-BRT bus service for all parts of the county. We need to hold WMATA accountable to properly investing in bus service, not continually cutting services to the communities that need it most. We also must ensure that standard RideOn bus users have adequate service (especially in places like Clarksburg, Damascus and Tobytown) and facilities (like bus shelters).

I also support all-day MARC service as an essential component of a true multi-modal transportation system that reduces the need for vehicular travel; we need to stop thinking of this as “commuter” rail and recognize it as part of the daily transportation network for all kinds of users. Last, but by no means least, I commit to working with our county delegation to the General Assembly – as well as building relationships with progressive legislators in Prince George’s County, DC and Virginia – so that we have a strong coalition of public officials advocating for dedicated Metro funding from all jurisdictions served by the system. Our economy and our communities depend on a well-functioning regional transit system.

From Greater Greater Washington Questionnaire:

Question 3: Montgomery County has many proposed transportation projects, including a county-wide Bus Rapid Transit network, the Corridor Cities Transitway, MARC expansion, widening of I-495 and I-270, Midcounty Highway (M-83), Montrose Parkway East, and more. With limited county funds and state willingness to fund projects in the county, how would you prioritize these or other projects? Why?

Answer: We need to maximize the number of both existing and new communities that can rely on public transit for a larger share of their transportation needs. That’s why full implementation of all currently proposed Bus Rapid Transit corridors (Rts. 29, 355, 586) and the Corridor Cities Transitway are two of my top transit priorities. These projects will expand and improve transportation options in grossly underserved areas of our county – White Oak, Burtonsville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Clarksburg – where existing and planned development needs to be properly supported with infrastructure. BRT projects are highly cost-effective ways to provide public transit in a relatively quick timeframe. Additionally, the areas of the county that will be served by these projects are the same areas that more broadly face environmental, economic and social injustice – so prioritizing these projects is also prioritizing meeting the needs of our most vulnerable community members.

From Progressive Neighbors Questionnaire:

Question: Where do you stand on bus rapid transit and what else would you propose to reduce car traffic and increase pedestrian accessibility and safety?

Answer: Full implementation of all currently proposed Bus Rapid Transit corridors (Rts. 29, 355, 586) and the Corridor Cities Transitway are two of my top transit priorities. These projects will expand and improve transportation options in grossly underserved areas of our county – White Oak, Burtonsville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Clarksburg – where existing and planned development needs to be properly supported with infrastructure. We must also continue to improve non-BRT bus service for all parts of the county.

Walking and biking paths are often overlooked when we think about building out our county’s transportation network. These can include not only larger bike trail projects like the Capital Crescent Trail, but also ensuring that there are good sidewalks on our neighborhood streets and walking paths between neighborhoods to make it easier for people in adjacent developments to connect with each other.

We must protect and fully fund our regional public transit system so that it is safe, affordable, and accessible for all users. WMATA needs a dedicated funding stream so that it can maintain and operate a safe and effective transit system that is central to our regional economy and quality of life.

ACT Scorecard: ACT Scorecard gives Brandy Brooks no rating on four issues but claims they have sufficient information to give a negative rating on the issue of housing near transit. Brandy Brooks did not submit the ACT questionnaire, however; all available information on policy positions shows she is a strong supporter of housing near transit.

ACT Criteria: This is ACT’s rating criteria for determining candidate ratings. Brandy’s stated policy positions clearly align with the priorities that ACT lays out in their criteria. We also include the rest of ACT’s criteria and their methodology for gathering information about candidates. Since Brandy Brooks did not submit ACT’s questionnaire, they claim to pull information from public statements, candidate websites, and other questionnaires — all which would show Brandy is a strong advocate for transit.

Tweets on “Trickle-down affordable housing”: ACT claims that these tweets show that Brandy does not support housing near transit. Brandy supports prioritizing affordable housing near transit to make sure transit investments do not displace vulnerable communities.

Know the facts. Read more about Brandy’s positions in our “Brandy on the Issues” section.