Shortly before I finalized this email, Metro made the announcement that it was suspending rail serve for 29 hours for a safety check. Here was my immediate response
Metro's announcement of a complete rail closure tomorrow will be incredibly disruptive to our region. Traffic will be worse than normal and many people will need to find a completely unknown route to work. But the truth is we will get past tomorrow. For a day, many people with desk jobs will telework and others may hitch a ride with a neighbor or find an indirect bus route. My concern is the long-term effect this has on the already declining Metrorail ridership. Decreasing ridership is bad for riders, traffic, the environment, and the economy. Safety is incredibly important, but Metro is sending a mixed message when the GM says the safety risk is low and an immediate shutdown is not necessary but then proposed an unprecedented midweek shutdown starting at midnight. It does not send a strong signal, nor will anyone feel safer on the system Thursday once it is running again. I did not think it possible, but my frustration with Metro as a rider and legislator continues to grow. Where do we go from here?
I also spoke to Bethesda Beat about the issue yesterday for an article.
Monday is the "cross-over" deadline in Annapolis, the date by which bills must cross from one chamber to the other in order to be guaranteed a hearing in the other chamber. In order to meet the deadline, we have multiple floor sessions on many days and will meet over the weekend between now and Monday.
I endorsed Chris Van Hollen for the U.S. Senate the day he got in the race with no hesitation. I was pleased to see the Washington Post endorse him as well:
I know that not everyone who receives this email newsletter is a registered Democrat in Maryland, but if you are please consider voting for Chris. Please note, this email newsletter and all others I send come from my campaign account.
During the legislative session, I have tried to keep you updated on my legislative package.
The Board of Public Works Transparency Act passed out of the Senate unanimously last week. As you may recall, the bill as introduced required 10 days public notice before budget cuts could be made by the Board. The bill was amended in the Senate to require three business days of public notice. As board meetings typically occur on Wednesdays, this will allow five calendar days of public notice.
My legislation on energy storage made some significant progress this year, with some real education of the relevant legislative committeemembers. I am withdrawing the bill for the session, with the understanding that I will be introducing it again in 2017. Sometimes such a move is necessary in order to advance an important issue.
Finally, I wanted to share a brief update on a bill I am co-sponsor of. My district-mate, Delegate Ariana Kelly, introduced a local bond bill to support the Friendship Heights Village Center renovation. As you know, the Village Center is a central gathering point in District 16. I was pleased to present the bill to the Capital Budget Subcommittee alongside Friendship Height's mayor, Clara Lovett.
A few weeks ago, I shared a story about an effort by Montgomery County legislators to restore funding the Governor cut for a biomedical building at the Universities at Shady Grove.
I am pleased to report that the Governor has introduced a new budget supplemental which requests $31.7 million for the project. The supplemental budget includes other funding priorities around the state. I am pleased the Governor has come to the table on this issue. You can read the supplemental here.
The state's Bureau of Revenue Estimates ("BRE") recently released its latest report. The BRE projects revenues for the state on a quarterly basis which is important in making budget decisions. The BRE's March revision projects an increase in the current fiscal year's revenues of $9 million. A decrease in sales tax revenue is off-set by an increase in corporate income and lottery revenue. For the next fiscal year, the BRE revises revenues downward by $60 million from earlier projections. These changes are in the context of increasing revenues (up over $1 billion from the last fiscal year) but do show a slowed rate of growth.
The State Highway Administration has announced that it is closing three lanes of traffic on Old Georgetown Road (MD-187) on March 19 and March 20. Both sidewalks and parking will be affected that weekend.
The State Highway Administration has announced that from now until early April, there will be lane closures on the Beltway starting at 9:00pm each evening. The closures will be on the outer loop at the MacArthur Boulevard bridge. When that work is complete, work will begin on the inner loop.
District 16 Notes
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