As always, you can keep up with what I am doing by following me at @mkorman on Twitter or by clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook.
When I draft these newsletters I always start with the previous one as my template. It was disappointing to see how optimistic I was about things "reopening" as we tried to move beyond COVID-19 just a few weeks ago. Of course, thanks to vaccines and a lot more knowledge, we are much better off now than this time a year ago but we still need to make sure people are getting vaccinated and taking other steps to mitigate the spread of COVID because so many, like my children, cannot get vaccinated.
As always, my seatmate Delegate Kelly is keeping us up to date on the details of COVID-19 and I recommend her most recent newsletter.
Montgomery County has also restored its indoor mask requirements, which you can refresh yourself on here.
Montgomery County Public Schools has also issued its reopening guide for the fall, as they plan to remain in person unless ordered to close. You can read about their plans on their website.
Maryland's State Treasurer—and Former District 16 Delegate—Nancy Kopp recently announced the good news that Maryland has retained its AAA bond rating from the three major bond rating agencies. These bond rating agencies are not infallible but the AAA helps our construction budget by making it cheaper to make capital investments. The rating agency reports make for interesting reading about what Maryland does right—and sometimes not right—fiscally.
And if you really want to get into the state fiscal reads, I have two other reading recommendations. First, the Department of Legislative Services has issued their annual report on the effect of the Legislative Program on the Financial Condition of the State, which explains what impact legislation passed in the prior session has had on state revenues and expenditures. Second, the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System--which oversees the pension fund for Maryland state employees and retirees--reported a banner year with a 26.7% return on investment, net of fees. The returns were highest in the pensions private equity investments, followed closely by public equities/stocks.
The Governor's proposed private toll road widening project was before the Board of Public Works earlier this month for approval of a "pre-development" agreement. Items 10-GM and 11-GM of the BPW agenda have the details for those who are interested in what passed.
10-GM is a lease between the State Highway Administration and Maryland's existing tolling authority (Maryland Transportation Authority) for I-270 and the relevant stretch of I-495. It's legally necessary for the overall project because only MdTA can toll in MD.
11-GM is the Phase Developer agreement with a Transurban controlled entity that will give it rights over the entirety of 270, the American Legion Bridge, and the Beltway connection to 270 (including the spurs). This is to add 2 toll lanes in each direction.
You can read the State Treasurer's report on the P3 agreement here.
And the Maryland Department of Transportation has documents on its site.
I joined Senator Will Smith and Delegate Jared Solomon in forwarding a letter from dozens of members of the Maryland General Assembly raising concerns about the project. You can read the letter here.
Finally, I was on the local I Hate Politics Podcast to discuss the project and you can listen to that episode.
Because of a gubernatorial veto, there will be a one year gap in funding for Purple Line impact small business grants, a program championed by my colleague Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins but critically important to businesses all along the Purple Line construction corridor. I joined Delegation leaders from Montgomery and Prince George's County in the House of Delegates and State Senate to request that the Governor fund the grants, as he has the discretion to do, anyway.
If you know of an upcoming District 16 event or a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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