Today was jam packed with council session and a committee meeting on small business issues. Wheaton is very much on our mind as we sort through redevelopment ideas and county investments.
Tonight featured a hearing on the county capital budget. It was interesting and residents spoke compellingly about a diverse array of topics.
I expect that we are going to make significant changes to the capital budget. I am looking to protect the Purple Line and biking facilities, and I am waiting to hear about MCPS needs.
Meanwhile I am working hard on an effort to stop the Annapolis cost shift to county governments for pensions.
I’m continuing my focus on the Purple Line, working with my colleague George Leventhal to keep that priority on track.
I’m excited to tackle these big picture challenges while delving far into the weeds of capital projects. It’s a nice mix.
Today started in the Takoma-Langley Crossroads area for a meeting with Erwin Mack. He runs a small business improvement effort in that area and they are working on the Purple Line, the sector plan, and many issues. Erwin is also head of the county’s pedestrian and bike safety committee. We discussed the recent T&E committee meeting about safety for kids walking to school and some follow up that I am considering.
Then, a Gov Ops committee meeting at 1030 focused on technology issues.
The rest of the day went to a collection of items I’m working on. Economic development, particularly. I was surprised to see another multi-million dollar economic incentive request on my desk from the county executive.
I’m also getting ready for my first town hall type event, on December 12 at Richard Montgomery High School, at 730pm. Please mark your calendar!
The photo is from a quick meeting today with a group of Webelos. My favorite moment: in response to Nancy Floreen’s challenge to correctly say how many people live in Montgomery County, we had a very thoughtful and persuasive young man pronounce, FIVE thousand!! “NO,” the next one said, “NINE thousand!“
Now I am on the couch… Emailing and watching MCPS TV, trying to get a better sense of what we offer through our county cable channels.
This morning I met with volunteer PTA leaders from the BCC cluster to talk about the new middle school. Last night Dr. Starr announced he would reinitiate the site selection process for that middle school, acknowledging a flawed MCPS process. I applaud his decision and I think it was both wise and courageous for him to clear the decks on an issue like that. Nevertheless the schools are overcrowded…
This afternoon we held a joint meeting of the Prince George’s County Council and our Council’s transportation committees. We discussed the Purple Line, bus rapid transit and the state commission’s recommendations to raise some $800 million in transportation funds. I made the point that the Purple Line will be a game changer for economic development as it connects our 355/270 corridor and the Red Line there with Silver Spring, UMD and New Carrollton – on up to NYC. Plus a few more Metro lines in PG and some MARC lines to boot.
Regionally the Purple Line is our most critical transportation priority and our two counties, which suffer from heavy traffic and will pay a huge share of the needed gas tax increase, should insist on a funding commitment this year in the legislature. If we support the gas tax together then let’s get the Purple Line together!
The photo shows us at the WSSC board chamber where we sometimes meet when it is a joint function.
Today’s highlight was a presentation from Tom Street and Mark Winston
about the rapid transit task force. They are preparing recommendations
for a county wide rapid transit system using advanced vehicle
technology on the street surface. Preliminary studies show that there
is a strong benefit to residents by improving mobility and reducing
congestion. Drivers are much better off with this transit system
since there are fewer new cars on the road.
The challenges include how much it costs, how to pay for it, how it
affects long standing priorities such as the Purple Line, and where to
start with it first.