WAMU 88.5 : News

Budget Uncertainty Hampers Maryland Transportation Planning

Play associated audio

The U.S. Senate will resume debate on a two-year $109 billion transportation funding bill next week. All the uncertainty surrounding this legislation is making states, including Maryland, nervous about planning major projects.

The Purple Line in the Maryland suburbs is expected to cost nearly $2 billion and be completed in 2020. Jack Cahalan is a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation. He says the state plans to ask for at least 50 percent of the construction costs from the federal government. And he says this funding uncertainty makes planning long term projects challenging.

"If you don't have the money in your pocket, you don't know where it is coming from, you're not sure it is going to be there, you are going to be reluctant to move forward on a major project," says Cahalan.

Congress has passed eight stop-gap funding extensions since the last multi-year transportation bill expired. This time around, House Republicans wanted a six-year plan, but now the Senate is debating a two-year plan that is weighed down by 30 proposed amendments. Cahalan says he's confident Congress will come up with something.

"It's tough to determine at this point what that plan will be, what the funding levels will be," he says.

Maryland's concerns are shared by all states trying to plan long term projects. The current funding bill expires at the end of this month.


From 'Unproud' To 'Hombre,' Election 2016 Is Testing Our Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster noticed the number of unique words coming out of this campaign, and has been using Twitter to report the most searchable words. Lexicographer Peter Sokolowski talks to Rachel Martin.

A History Of Election Cake And Why Bakers Want To #MakeAmericaCakeAgain

Bakers Susannah Gebhart and Maia Surdam are reviving election cake: a boozy, dense fruitcake that was a way for women to participate in the democratic process before they had the right to vote.

Republican And Trump Critic Ana Navarro Speaks On Election

Ana Navarro has become a standard bearer for Republican women repudiating Donald Trump. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with the GOP strategist about her view of the election, which is only 16 days away.

The Next Generation Of Local, Low-Power FM Stations Expands In Urban Areas

The next wave of low power FM stations is coming on the air. Initially restricted to rural areas because of interference concerns, nearly 2,000 new stations have been approved — many in urban areas.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.