County Executive Marc Elrich Releases Recommended $5.84 Billion FY25-30 Capital Improvement Program and Recommended FY 25 Capital Budget

Per Montgomery County: “Today, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich transmitted his $5.84 billion FY25-30 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and Recommended FY25 Capital Budget.  The County Executive’s funding recommendations will address major capital needs of Montgomery County over the next six years.

This is County Executive Elrich’s third full CIP and is $133 million more than the prior approved FY23-28 CIP budget, a 2.3 percent increase. To see the complete recommended FY25-30 Capital Improvements Program and FY25 Capital Budget, click this link: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/omb/publications.html.

“In developing this recommended budget, the impact of cost increases, prior structural underbudgeting in the MCPS budget, and Recordation Tax shortfalls presented significant challenges,” said County Executive Elrich. “Additional resources to support capital investments to move our County forward are essential. While Northern Virginia races ahead of us by implementing transportation improvements using resources levied to address congestion relief, we are hamstrung by constrained resources due to an antiquated tax structure. To move Montgomery County forward, we must identify new revenues and new approaches as Northern Virginia did to plan for regional growth, provide transportation choices, and increase accessibility. This will improve our economy, strengthen our tax base, and allow us to grow toward our future.”

By law, the CIP is required to be transmitted to the County Council every other year on Jan. 15, or the next business day on years where the 15th is on a weekend or holiday. Only amendments to the CIP are presented in alternate years.

CIP Recommendations Highlights: 

Overview:

  • Total six-year investment of $5.8 billion, a modest 2.3 percent increase over the previously approved CIP.
  • This capital budget assumes the County Council approved Spending Affordability Guidelines (SAG) for General Obligation bonds ($1.68 billion over six years) and recognizes revenue constraints due to recent contractions in the housing market.
  • Due to fiscal constraints, the recommended CIP is unable to fund some worthy projects proposed by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Montgomery College, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and Montgomery County departments on the requested schedule.
  • Post COVID-19, construction costs have shown marked increases, and major equipment has been delayed. Pricing of construction items such as plywood and metal framing increased over 100 percent between 2020 and 2022.
  • MCPS requested a $515.9 million increase in funding in the first four years of the CIP when there is less flexibility in the planned program.
  • Intergovernmental aid decreased by $91.1 million over the six-year period due largely to the completion of work funded by the State and Federal governments in prior years.

Education
“I am pleased to recommend maintaining record funding in this CIP for MCPS despite funding source shortfalls,” said County Executive Elrich. “The Board of Education continues to request large amounts in the first years of the CIP, while underfunding the outyears. There is simply not funding available to support the requested MCPS CIP schedule. To ensure we can meet the facility needs of as many students and communities as possible within our finite resources, I encourage MCPS to explore opportunities to address capacity issues without costly construction projects potentially through boundary studies and program changes.”

  • $1.9 billion for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) capital projects over the six-year period.
  • Maintains record amount of funding for schools.
  • Adds $169.1 million in the first four years of the CIP so that projects with cost increases can stay on schedule, progress can be made on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future goals, and infrastructure can be maintained.
  • MCPS represents the largest category of the CIP with 32.7 percent of all spending.
  • MCPS projects claim 43.2 percent of all local bond, recordation and impact tax funding.
  • Implementation of High School Wellness Centers and Expanded Wellness Services programs.
  • Recommended budget plans for full physical and mental health centers at Damascus, Paint Branch, Northwood, Woodward, and Springbrook High Schools.
  • New model centers will be added at Crown, Blake, and Magruder High Schools.
  • $381.7 million for Montgomery College projects, a 12.2 percent increase over previous CIP.
  • Largest ever CIP for Montgomery College.
  • Includes $60.5 million needed to design and construct improvements to establish a fourth campus in the East County.

Transportation and Infrastructure
“In developing my Recommended CIP, I prioritized transportation projects that are cost effective, maximize mobility, and position the County to reap the benefits of emerging economic development opportunities,” said Elrich. “We must invest in our transportation network to strengthen the County’s future position in the region. Transportation infrastructure that connects jobs to housing and facilitates easy commutes, especially via transit, within and around our County is essential to bolster our economy, create jobs and remain competitive with neighboring jurisdictions.”

  • More than $580 million in funding for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along Maryland Routes 355 and 586 (Veirs Mill Road).
  • Unprecedented expansion of the County’s Bus Rapid Transit system.
  • State and Federal aid opportunities to support final design, land acquisition, and construction.
  • $1.7 billion to support critical transportation infrastructure.
  • Other non-BRT examples include:
    • Adds funds for resurfacing and rehabilitation of County roads and sidewalk repair.
    • Leverages Federal aid for bridge replacement and rehabilitation including several new projects:
      • Brookville Road Bridge,
      • Redland Road Bridge, and
      • Schaeffer Road Bridge.
    • Pedestrian Facilities and Bikeways:
      • Fenton Street Cycletrack,
      • Good Hope Shared Use Path,
      • MD 355 Clarksburg Shared Use Path, and
      • Dale Drive Shared Use Path and Safety Improvements.
    • Awarded Federal funding to construct bicycle parking facilities at the Silver Spring Transit Center and Bethesda Metro Station.

Affordable Housing 
“My Recommended CIP makes major investments in affordable housing, a critical priority for this County and my administration,” said County Executive Elrich. “This budget provides $194.7 million in additional funding to support affordable housing, including $50 million in surplus revenue to provide financing assistance for new affordable housing projects in the County, an investment that will help leverage additional private resources to support affordable housing development Countywide. It is my intent to double this investment, adding another $50 million in March when my recommended operating budget is released.”

  • $194.7 million for affordable housing.
  • County adds $50 million to finance new affordable housing projects for the first time in a proposed CIP.
  • Intent to add another $50 million in March.
  • Increases the new Nonprofit Housing Preservation Fund by $30 million, or 150 percent.
  • Launches new “Troubled and Distressed Common Ownership Communities” program.

Environment
“This recommended CIP makes significant strides in advancing policy priorities to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate climate change impacts,” said County Executive Elrich. “To reduce our carbon footprint and meet our community-wide climate goals to be carbon neutral by 2035, my recommended budget continues investments in the construction of Net Zero facilities, facilities that produce enough clean energy to meet the site’s energy needs. Transportation represents 42 percent of our County’s community-wide greenhouse gas emissions, and my recommended budget continues our work to transition to a 100 percent zero-emissions bus fleet by 2035. Additionally, this Recommended CIP continues construction of upgrades to the Recycling Center Complex so that the County can process 100% of the recyclable material residents and businesses generate with room for future growth.”

  • $40 million to enhance energy conservation in County-owned facilities and to support implementation of Building Energy Performance Standards.
  • $153 million to begin implementation of the comprehensive flood management plan.
  • Purchase of 219 electric battery and hydrogen fuel cell buses, continuing the transition to 100 percent zero-emissions bus fleet by 2035.
  • Funds concept design and environmental studies for a new bus depot to support transition of the bus fleet away from fossil fuel.

Culture and Recreation 
“This CIP invests in recreation and library facilities in communities that have previously lacked easy access to these critical community resources,” said County Executive Elrich. “Recommended in this CIP is a new Western County Recreation Center and Clarksburg Library as well as the continued preservation of Rockville’s Historic Lincoln High School. This recommended budget also continues funding for the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, which will provide an important cultural asset serving the Wheaton community.”

  • Clarksburg Library:
    • Supports design and construction of a new library for a growing community that does not have a library, and
    • Also funds the evaluation and purchase of an alternative site for this library.
  • Western County Recreation Center:
    • Funds design and construction of a new recreation facility to address an unmet need in Western Montgomery County.
  • Historic Lincoln High School:
    • Adds funds to support completion of the building shell, as well as HVAC and electrical work to continue stabilization and activation of this space.
  • Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center:
    • Supports the buildout of ground floor arts and cultural spaces.
  • Silver Spring Recreation and Aquatic Center:
    • Opening spring 2024 and will provide 120,000 gross square feet of public recreation space in Downtown Silver Spring.
  • New Recreation Ongoing Maintenance Projects:
    • Adds two new level of effort projects to ensure that indoor equipment and outdoor playgrounds that support recreational programming remain in good repair.

Economic Development 
“We want to continue our momentum following a year where we saw expansion from major County-based companies such as AstraZeneca and United Therapeutics as well as a record low unemployment rate,” said County Executive Elrich. “My Recommended CIP also includes significant investments in public-private partnerships designed to spark redevelopment in the North Bethesda and White Oak areas of the County and adds funding to support the County’s collaboration with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation to develop a co-branded innovation facility, the HJF Innovation Labs at Montgomery County that will advance life science research, innovation and commercialization.”

  • Maintains support for transit-oriented redevelopment in North Bethesda.
  • Continues support for mixed-use redevelopment in White Oak.
  • Adds funds to support the build-out of ground floor retail at Wheaton Headquarters.
  • Supports development of the “Henry Jackson Foundation Innovation Labs at Montgomery County” – a life science innovation facility.
  • Funds property acquisition to support economic development goals at the Glenmont Shopping Center.

Public Safety:
“We are investing in state-of-the-art facilities, technology, and equipment in order to ensure the safety of our residents and first responders,” said County Executive Elrich. “With two new fire stations in Clarksburg and White Flint as well as a new 6th District police station, we are ensuring that we are upgrading public safety coverage and response in these communities. We are also funding the new Diversion Center, a critical State-funded project that will help us better respond to those in crisis. And upgrading our security cameras in County parking garages will help those who use those facilities feel safer and more secure.”

  • Clarksburg Fire Station: Opening spring 2024 and will allow the fire service to relocate out of temporary leased space to serve the Clarksburg community.
  • 6th District Police Station: Opening summer 2025, this project relocates police operations out of temporary leased space to a purpose-built modern facility.
  • White Flint Fire Station: Funds design and construction of a new station to support growth in North Bethesda. Completion expected in FY27.
  • Diversion Center: Funds design and construction of a facility to provide an alternative to emergency departments or the criminal justice system for those experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Completion expected in FY29.
  • Parking Garage Security Cameras: Funds expansion and upgrades of security cameras in County-owned parking garages.

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) 

  • Recommended CIP includes $303.0 million in six-year funding – a $6.8 million, or 2.3 percent increase over the prior CIP for M-NCPPC.

WSSC Water 

  • Recommended CIP fully funds the WSSC Water’s $2.14 billion FY25-30 CIP request – a $89.5 million, or 4.0 percent, decrease below the FY24-29 approved total of $2.23 billion.
  • Decrease in six-year costs is the net result of scope changes, project implementation progress, inflationary trends, as well as additional funding for engineering and energy performance programs and the acceleration of projects focused on providing additional barriers against drinking water contamination, enhancing reliability and reducing treatment costs.

Equity Lens Prioritization 

To incorporate the use of a racial equity lens into the development of the FY25-30 CIP, the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice (ORESJ), in partnership with the Office Management and Budget, implemented a Capital Budget Equity Tool (CBET) to encourage departments and decision makers to consider the impacts of proposed projects on racial disparities and inequities in the County.

This tool makes applying a racial equity lens concrete by providing a structured approach for identifying, analyzing, and interpreting data about historical and current racial disparities and inequities in the County. With information from this tool, departments can adjust their project planning, design, or outreach, and decisionmakers can assess budgets based on their ability to advance priority initiatives such as racial equity and social justice.

The recommended CIP incorporates projects identified by this review as having the potential to advance racial equity and reduce disparities in the County. Projects in the recommended CIP with the potential to reduce racial disparities and inequities as identified by ORESJ’s CBET include:

  • Revitalization for Troubled and Distressed Common Ownership Communities,
  • Wheaton Headquarters Retail,
  • Bus Rapid Transit on MD 355 and Veirs Mill Road,
  • School Based Health Centers and Linkages to Learning Centers,
  • U.S. 29 Streetlighting,
  • Cherry Hill Road Bike Facility,
  • Dale Drive Shared Use Path and Safety Improvements,
  • MD 198 Sidewalk Improvements, and
  • Norwood Road Shared Use Path.

Additional projects, not reviewed by ORESJ, that have potential to advance racial equity and social justice are:

  • $50 million cash investment in affordable housing,
  • Preservation of the Historic Lincoln High School in Rockville,
  • East County Campus of Montgomery College, and
  • Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center.

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