Duncan Releases FY'06 Operating Budget with
Increased Support for Transportation — back
County Executive Douglas M. Duncan unveiled his FY06 Operating Budget on March 15. Totaling $3.6 billion, the budget includes a two-cent reduction in the property tax rate and funds several new initiatives.
In its third year, the Go Montgomery! initiative continues to help mitigate traffic congestion in the County with efforts aimed at preserving and enhancing existing transportation infrastructure, building new roads, increasing Ride On service, and improving pedestrian and bicycle safety. Duncan’s budget provides increased rural/residential resurfacing and maintenance of 39 lane miles of new roads. A second roadway incident management team will be funded to quickly remove disabled vehicles that result in traffic congestion.
Six environmentally friendly hybrid buses and 33 small diesel buses will be added to the Ride On fleet. In addition, 15 more buses will be equipped with security cameras and two in-service trainers will be added to improve the safety and training of bus operators.
The total Public Works and Transportation budget increases from $324.3 million (FY05 estimated) to $331.4 million, assuming an increase in the State’s Highway User Revenue and an increase in the General Fund support. Funding is also provided to implement the Taxicab Competition and Customer Service legislation submitted by the Executive and enacted last November by the County Council.
County’s Unique New Fueling Station Makes More Clean Fuel Buses Possible;
Boosts County’s Commitment to Transit and Clean Air— back to top
Montgomery County now has a unique fast-fill compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station that provides the needed capacity to allow for continued expansion of the County’s CNG Ride On bus fleet. Currently, Ride On has 57 CNG buses, 16 percent of the fleet, and plans to add an additional 45 CNG buses over the next 18 months. Montgomery County is committed to improving regional air quality, and the use of clean fuel buses is an important component of the County’s Air Quality Protection strategy.
CNG buses help the County achieve significant reductions in harmful air emissions. The Ride On fleet’s 57 CNG buses have decreased diesel fuel consumption by 43 percent at the Gaithersburg transit facility. The new fast-fill fueling station gives the County additional capacity to fuel up to 200 buses. The fast-fill fuel site includes cost saving features, such as peak power shaving. Although the fueling station primarily operates during non-peak demand periods, a generator automatically kicks in during times of higher-priced peak electrical demands.
The new station is the first CNG fast-fill fueling site in the nation that is modular and entirely above ground. Compared to conventional underground CNG stations, this fast-fill design took less time and was less expensive to construct, and has lower maintenance costs.
Silver Spring Adds Parking Spaces with Meters on Georgia Avenue, Colesville Road.; Move Enhances Pedestrian Safety in Busy Downtown — back to top
To improve pedestrian safety and access to local businesses, new on-street parking will be added in Silver Spring. Starting April 1, 68 additional two-hour parking meter spaces will be available on Georgia Avenue from Spring Street south to the District line and on Colesville from East-West Highway to Spring Street.
The new meters will be operational during non-rush hours. The charge will be 50 cents per hour, the same as the rates currently in effect throughout the Silver Spring parking district. In addition to coins, the new electronic meters can accept CashKeys, prepaid, reloadable key cards. The CashKeys are available at the Sales Store in the Town Square Garage on Ellsworth Street in Downtown Silver Spring and in Bethesda at the Cheltenham Street Garage.
For more information about the new parking spaces, requirements, etc., call Parking Operations at 240-777-8740.
Montgomery County Roadways to Receive Spring-Cleaning — back
Montgomery County's roadways will be getting a spring-cleaning. Beginning in April, the County will launch a 10-12 week street-sweeping program to clean the County’s 2,000 miles of roads. The effort is intended to remove abrasives and other debris left behind after the winter snow season, and to improve the appearance and safety of County streets. Based on past results, County officials expect the effort will help to recover more than 3,000 tons of material.
Removing salt and sand abrasives, and other debris, from road surfaces helps to keep drainage systems clean. It also helps to reduce pollutants that flow into local tributaries and, eventually, into the Chesapeake Bay.
Brightly colored signs will be posted in neighborhoods a few days before street sweeping begins. Residents are urged to find alternative parking while their streets are cleaned to improve the quality of service and the effectiveness of the sweeping program.
Daily updates detailing which areas are scheduled for street sweeping will be provided on the County Cable Montgomery (Channel 6) during the morning and afternoon rush hours, when the channel provides live coverage of local traffic conditions. Internet users can also find information about the schedule online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov. Click on Departments, click on the Department of Public Works and Transportation, and then go to Highway Maintenance.
For more information, contact Highway Maintenance at 240-777-ROAD (7623).
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