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Press Releases - County Council

Statement by Councilmember Hans Riemer, Chair of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, on the County Executive’s Recommended FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP)

For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 16, 2020

From the Office of Councilmember Hans Riemer

ROCKVILLE, Md. Jan. 15, 2020—Reviewing the proposed capital budget after it was released this morning, I am deeply disappointed that the County Executive dramatically underfunded our schools. Education is our County’s top priority and yet the County Executive has recommended cutting school construction funding below the current budgeted level. In fact, the Elrich proposal falls more than $100 million short of the Board of Education’s requested funding. That will have a real impact on school projects in the pipeline.

On affordable housing, I was initially encouraged by the Executive’s speech about increasing funding levels. Indeed, I am intrigued by his proposal to create a new housing preservation fund. However, while he claims to have added more than $132 million in the affordable housing fund, after further examination it became clear that the annual amount is unchanged at $22 million. Under the last Executive, affordable housing funding was only programmed for the first two years of the six year budget, but additional funding was always added in the subsequent years. We need to increase our affordable housing fund to at least $100 million annually. This change in accounting will not result in increased resources. In combination with his resistance to the Council’s affordable housing goals, developed with and agreed upon by all the local governments in Washington region, the County Executive’s housing policy continues to be a matter of serious concern.

Similarly, while the Executive lamented the slow pace of progress on his proposed Bus Rapid Transit system, he has added yet more money for studies while once again cutting funding to build a north entrance to the White Flint Metro Station. He has also chosen not to fund the planned tunnel for the Capital Crescent Trail under Wisconsin Avenue. The Council funded preliminary design of the tunnel, which is now complete and ready for construction. Boosting North Bethesda / White Flint and ensuring that Bethesda continues to be the economic engine of Maryland is an essential part of our County’s economic development strategy.

I will work with my Council colleagues to ensure that our County’s capital budget delivers on our greatest needs.

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Release ID: 20-014
Media Contact: Ken Silverman 240-777-7964