Thursday, January 24, 2013

Leggett Announces Amended Six-Year Capital Construction Budget; Continued Budget Constraints Focus Funding on Critical Capital Needs While Delaying Some Projects

On January 15, County Executive Ike Leggett announced his recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Capital Budget and proposed amendments to the FY 13-18 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). This CIP recognizes the vital need to control future debt and focuses on funding critical safety-related capital needs or projects that will boost the County’s recovering economy and spur job growth. In order to fund these critical needs, the recommendations delay some planned projects.

Leggett’s CIP amendments will provide for transportation projects, including unforeseen bridge repair projects, storm drain culvert replacements and the replacement of some unreliable Ride On buses. To spur economic development and job growth, Leggett is recommending continuing to implement Phase I of the Transit Task Force’s recommendation for a bus rapid transit system.

Under a 1996 County Charter amendment, a new CIP is developed in even-numbered calendar years. In alternate years, like 2013, the Executive may recommend amendments to the existing six-year CIP.

Following are the transportation-related highlights of the proposed FY 2014 CIP amendments:
  • Elmhirst Parkway Bridge: $1,965,000 to replace this structurally deficient bridge. Federal aid will fund $1,048,000 of the project costs. 
  • Bridge Renovation: An additional $2 million in GO bonds for unforeseen emergency projects, including Cattail Lane culvert replacement; Jerusalem Road culvert replacement; Stoneybrook Drive bridge slope repair to end erosion affecting CSX tracks; Germantown Road culvert lining; Fernmont Lane culvert replacement; and the Agricultural Farm entrance road culvert renovation. 
  • Storm Drain Culvert Replacement: $6.3 million in GO bonds to replace failed storm drain pipes and culverts. 
  • Ride On Bus Fleet: Replace remaining Champion buses, which have had fire safety problems, using increased short-term financing in FY13 and FY14. All the Champion buses were taken out of service in July 2012. 
  • Silver Spring Transit Center: $7.5 million GO bond supplemental to cover site improvement, utilities and construction costs required to prevent further opening delays. The County intends to seek reimbursement for project delay costs to the maximum extent allowed under the law. 
  • Rapid Transit System: An additional $7.6 million in GO bond funding for concept planning for Maryland State Route 355, U.S. Route 29 and Randolph Road, the critical next step in developing the County’s future generation transit operations. 
  • Six-year GO bond funding for Montgomery County projects has been reduced by $20.32 million through a six-month delay of the Bethesda Metro Station South and Capital Crescent Trail projects. Due to the current lack of state construction funding for these projects, this reduction is not likely to cause a delay in the project. 
  • The Colesville Depot and Metropolitan Branch Trail projects were delayed in the early years of the CIP. 
Leggett transmitted his CIP recommendations to the County Council for their approval. More details about the CIP are available in the press release and the entire CIP is available online.