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.
 

NPR

The Code Switch Podcast, Episode 1: Can We Talk About Whiteness?

On our inaugural episode, we're digging into how we talk about whiteness — or, really, how we don't talk about it — and hear from some folks who say it's really important that we figure out how.
NPR

Can Planting More Milkweed Save Monarch Butterflies? It's Complicated

Conservationists have long blamed farmers' use of pesticides for decimating the milkweed that monarch caterpillars like to eat. But scientists say simply planting more milkweed isn't the answer.
WAMU 88.5

Ralph Nader: The Future Of The Progressive Movement In The D.C. Region

Iconic consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader joins us for a conversation about civic engagement, the role of the media, and the future of the progressive movement in the D.C. region.

WAMU 88.5

Hillary Clinton's Emails

Hillary Clinton is under pressure after a State Department report criticized her use of a private email server: what's in the report, potential security risks and whether it could affect Secretary Clinton's bid for the White House.

Leave a Comment

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