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Elrich Releases His First Capital Budget: Nearly $1.8 Billion for MCPS

County Executive Marc Elrich released his recommended FY20 Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY19-24 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The budget recommends $1.775 billion in Montgomery County Public Schools funding to build 625 new classrooms in 26 new additions, three new schools, and one reopened school – despite funding challenges. The total Amended FY19-24 CIP is $4.3 billion

“As County Executive, my top priority is maintaining and expanding funding to address the capacity and infrastructure needs of the public schools,” said Elrich. “But, during the first few weeks of my tenure as County Executive, I was faced with a reduction of almost $122 million in CIP revenues. In particular, Schools Impact Taxes were projected to decrease by $120.7 million. With little time to prepare the January biennial CIP, I was faced with a budget where any increase would require other reductions – and then I’d need to make even further reductions to balance the CIP. I directed our team to develop a budget that maintained funding for all previously approved MCPS projects that the Board of Education requested. Then we went to work to preserve key capital projects within available funding.”

“I regret that we did not have enough funds to support the Board’s increased funding requests,” Elrich added. “We must generate additional funding to support more classrooms, security enhancements, and investments in infrastructure. I will work with the Council, the Board of Education, our state legislative delegation, the Governor, and advocates to pursue all options for funding our schools.”

With fewer dollars available, it was necessary to find cost savings, to defer some projects, and to look for other funding sources to meet the County’s capital needs. One project with significant savings is the Montrose Parkway East project, which would have constructed a new four-lane divided parkway as recommended in the North Bethesda/Garrett Park and Aspen Hill Master Plans. This will be an extension of Montrose Parkway West from MD-355 to Viers Mill Road near Parkland Drive in Rockville.

Elrich determined that, although the project was approved by the County Council, the new roadway was too large, too costly, and did not present a viable solution; and he eliminated funding for constructing the old project and included planning funding to develop alternative solutions to the local safety and traffic problems.

The County Executive also pushed back the construction of the Dorsey Mill Bridge in Germantown to beyond the Fiscal year 2024. Last year’s CIP included the Dorsey Mill Bridge project, which is planned to provide an east-west connection between Century Boulevard on the west side of I-270 with Observation Drive on the east side of I-270. However, the actual land acquisition was projected for FY23 it is not pushed back to FY24. The construction is projected from FY25 to FY28. Last year, the total cost of the project was $28.4 million, of which $5.3 million was to have been funded within the next five years. However, that project has been deferred.