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Gburg’s Spiegel calls for highway funds restoration

gaithersburg buildingGAITHERSBURG — At Monday night’s meeting of Gaithersburg’s Mayor and City Council, Council Vice President Ryan Spiegel identified what he called the top priority for Gaithersburg and all other Maryland municipalities in the current legislative session. Spiegel, who also serves as statewide chair of the legislative committee of the Maryland Municipal League, noted that under a formula set by state law, cities and towns throughout Maryland are entitled to receive funding for roadway restoration and maintenance,

“Unfortunately, that formula was eviscerated by the State of Maryland back in 2009 during the Great Recession,” Spiegel said. “Ever since them, cities and towns have been working to get the state to restore that formula to its rightful equation, because without it, cities and towns are being deprived of the money they need to maintain our roads and other transportation infrastructure.”

Spiegel said that the MML sought public involvement in helping to convince state legislators to restore this funding, known as highway user revenues, or HURs, which is largely funded by state gasoline taxes.

“We need your help to get your money back so that we can maintain roads and build these infrastructure projects that have been on the books for years but that we’ve had to defer.” 

Spiegel urged members of the public to write and call legislators to demand the restoration of HURs and also said that the MML would launch a social media campaign around the issue, using the hashtag #fixlocalroads. The first hearing on the issue will be held in the State Senate Feb. 14.

“We’ll be organizing a delegation of not only municipal officials but also anyone from the public who wants to go. We’ll go to Annapolis for the afternoon and ask the legislature to show the love to municipalities,” Spiegel said.

Mayor Jud Ashman presented certificates of recognition to the Quince Orchard High School varsity football team in congratulation for their winning the regional championship and advancing to the state championship, where they were ultimately defeated by Henry A. Wise Jr. High School. Coach John Kelly and several team members were on hand to receive the certificates.

“Every Friday night in late summer and fall, a large section of our community gets together to share something truly special,” said Ashman, who has been a regular attendee of Quince Orchard football games ever since his son played on the team. “Last night’s Super Bowl was a terrific game, but Super Bowls and pro football in general are so overrun with commercial interests and various agendas that the game itself can sometimes be lost in the shuffle. At the high school level, the game, the heart is real and it’s never lost in the shuffle, and we’re lucky to have such a strong tradition in Gaithersburg.”

Dr. Kent Rockford, Associate Director for Laboratory Programs at the National Institutes for Science and Technology and Susan Cantili, facilities planning team lead for NIST’s Office of Facilities and Property Management, briefed Ashman and the Council on the drafted master plan for the NIST campus, which has been located in Gaithersburg for more than 50 years. The plan calls for the modernization of the campus buildings and the expansion of the campus during the next 20 years to accommodate more than 1,000 new staff members.

@petersrouleau

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