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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery and Prince George’s County Councils sent a joint letter to MDOT in defense of WSSC ratepayers

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 14, 2020

Proposed highway widening P3 could leave WSSC customers on the hook for billions in costly water main relocations, WSSC analysis finds

LAUREL, Md., May 14, 2020—The Montgomery County and Prince George’s County Councils sent a joint letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) expressing deep concern over potential costs to WSSC ratepayers that may arise if MDOT’s P3 widening plans materialize. Montgomery County Councilmembers Katz, Hucker, Albornoz, Jawando, Navarro, Glass and Riemer signed on to the letter.

A recent briefing by WSSC to a joint session of the transportation committees of both councils showed that the average WSSC customer could see added costs of $2,250 to their water bill over the next 20 years if MDOT’s P3 widening program proceeds. A little-known 1958 agreement between the two entities requires WSSC to fund the relocation of water pipes that need to be moved for highway widenings on state roads.    

Vice President Hucker said, “As a longtime proponent for greater accountability from MDOT and their P3 proposal, I was shocked to learn that WSSC ratepayers could be forced to pay for elements of this already costly highway widening through their water bills.”

Montgomery County Council President Sidney Katz said, "We have been told throughout the Public Private Partnership (P3) process that it would be at no cost to the taxpayers.  Charging the ratepayers of WSSC for the expenses of the infrastructure widening is totally unacceptable. The ratepayers of WSSC are the tax payers as well."  

Prince George’s County Council Chair Todd Turner said, “It is important for the Council to relay that we are opposed to any water and sewer increases resulting from the Managed Lanes P3 Project. We are pleased that Secretary Slater is forming a joint working group to address the Council’s concerns, and we look forward to reviewing their findings.”

Hucker said concerned WSSC customers deserve answers from MDOT. “Our constituents need answers from MDOT. Will they each be forced to pay thousands of dollars for a project that was sold to Marylanders as ‘no cost to the state’?”

The two county councils summarized their concerns in their May 13 letter to Transportation Secretary Greg Slater, and they have requested that MDOT address WSSC’s analysis in detail prior to proceeding with the P3 process. 

“We hope MDOT restores trust with our constituents by explaining exactly who will cover the costs of this P3 proposal — corporate toll lane operators — or our already-burdened WSSC ratepayers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties?” Hucker said.

A copy of the Prince George’s County Council News Release can be found here.

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Release ID: 20-211
Media Contact: Dave Kunes 240-350-5104