The study bill is just one component of the work I have been doing to bring more attention to WMATA in Annapolis. Delegate Erek Barron from Prince George's County and myself have been leading a WMATA-Metro Work Group made up of other interested legislators. The group has been meeting with state transportation officials, WMATA staff, WMATA board members, and other stakeholders in order to provide additional oversight of the transit agency. WMATA is a difficult issue because of its multi-jurisdictional nature, but Maryland provides almost half a billion dollars a year in operating and capital costs and must be vigilant in supporting and improving the system.
I explained previously that the budget is made up of three components, the last of which is the capital budget. The capital budget funds long-terms investments such as school construction or parkland acquisition. The House of Delegates is taking up the capital budget this week and the big news for Montgomery County is additional school construction funding.
For the past several years Maryland has been committed to a high level of funding for school construction and Montgomery County has benefited from that. But it has not been enough to keep up with enrollment growth of approximately one high school worth of students per year. The additional funding identified will be targeted at school districts with significant enrollment growth and a high use of portables. Montgomery County should receive approximately $5.8 million, above and beyond the almost $30 million the County will receive under existing school construction programs next year. A big thank you to the House and Appropriations Committee leadership for recognizing this important issue. Also to District 20 Delegate Sheila Hixson whose legislation--which will also be before the House this week--is the model for this component of the capital budget.
The capital budget also contains funding for two important District 16 projects:
SHA has begun preliminary work at West Cedar Lane/Oakmont Avenue along Old Georgetown Road. The project is expected to be completed in late summer of 2016. More details are available here.
District 16 Notes
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