At his campaign kickoff, he expressed his support for the Purple Line in addition to detailed visions for alternative energy initiatives in Maryland. After the event, he enthusiastically explained some of his positions on issues for southwestern Montgomery County and the state.
1. What do you foresee as the the largest challenge to bringing the Purple Line as endorsed by Governor O’Malley, a project that you support, to groundbreaking?
According to the Purple Line engineering team, the metrics are in place for the FTA to fund the Purple Line. I believe that both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties will come through with funding on their end. My biggest concern is the ICC’s fiscal situation. Like you, I question whether the ICC tolls will pay for the road’s debt service. If the tolls aren’t enough, the bond payments will further eat away at Maryland’s transportation fund. Currently, ICC construction is on schedule for completion as the Purple Line finishes its engineering phase. As a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, I will work to responsibly appropriate adequate state funding to ensure that the Purple Line moves from engineering to groundbreaking.
Montgomery County has recently put a lot of emphasis on job growth in the biotech sector. The Purple Line will provide a major competitive advantage for the county and state because it will connect the NIH and private biotech companies in western Montgomery County with the tremendous human capital and research initiatives at the University of Maryland, in addition to points in between and east.
2. On your website, you endorse using more solar power as part of our strategy to become energy independent and carbon-neutral. How would such a Goldberg Plan work?
We would use a part of Maryland’s rainy day fund as collateral atMaryland banks to borrow money at low interest rates for Maryland
businesses to install panels on the roofs of state buildings. The funds would be extended to all Maryland counties and Baltimore to install solar panels on county (and Baltimore City) buildings.
County buildings include schools, which use less energy when students are on summer break. In the long run, Maryland will make money from selling the energy from the solar panels back to the grid.
I am also against drilling for oil off the east coast of the United States. I like Old Bay on my [Maryland Blue] crabs, not crude oil. I want future generations to enjoy the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay.
3. Recently, the Washington Post took note that Maryland’s smart growth laws have been “toothless.” As a delegate, what steps would you take to encourage other Maryland jurisdictions to enjoy the successes of Bethesda rather than the current car-dependent gridlock in neighboring Fairfax County, Virginia?
The Maryland House of Delegates has the state’s purse strings. We should use the power of the purse to encourage Maryland jurisdictions to engage in Smart Growth planning.
For example, Prince George’s County wants the state to help funding their hospital system. If Maryland contributes funding to the county, they should look for something in return. The state should require Prince George’s County to plan new sustainable, traditional human-scale towns around their Metro stations. Maryland spent billions in previous decades and also pays the yearly WMATA operating and capital subsidy. The state should get more return for the investments.
We have learned that car-dependent sprawl doesn’t work here in Montgomery County because the road construction and maintenance costs are threatening to be more than we can afford. We know that Maryland won’t be able to afford lots of new road projects to create more car-dependent sprawl 25 years from now. Investing in our existing traditional towns and transit-oriented infill is far more cost-effective in the long term, as our experience with Bethesda has shown.
Disclosure: I reside in District 18.