Since the video is not yet available of the County Executive’s testimony on the Public Hearing Draft, here are some notes and commentary:
The testimony was given by Diane Schwartz-Jacobs. She called the plan “a significant effort” and a “bold vision” with a “responsible approach.” She applauded the “key theme of taming Rockville Pike.”
Then she threw the cold water: “departures from the growth policy . . . need to be flushed out and modified.” The proposed financing authority is “unnecessary, redundant and expensive.” “A duplication of powers” which the Executive “does not support.” She said there is established authority and tools already in place. The Executive will not support the implementation proposals.
In addition, the Executive does not like the central idea for financing proposed in the Public Hearing Draft: that funds generated by the new area taxes should be reserved for projects in the White Flint area. This “dedication of funds isolates and causes disparities between less-wealthy areas.” Funds raised should be spread, at least in part, over other areas of the county (and, though not said, probably means should be under the more direct control of the regular budget process). The financing concept needs “more thought and work.”
She also said that the “transportation balance” troubles the Executive. Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson was wielding a tough gavel, however, and cut off a further explanation at this point. Her conclusion: the Public Hearing Draft was a “departure from policy.” The unsaid message? The Executive won’t support it without changes.