Our Elections Committee is in the process of sending this out to all candidates for the races we're tracking: Congressional districts MD-06 and VA-10, Maryland governor and state legislature, Montgomery County executive and council, Prince George's county executive and council, DC mayor, chairman, and council, Arlington county board, and Alexandria mayor and council.
Here are our questions. If you're a candidate for any of these offices, you're welcome to fill out the questionnaire. We're asking candidates to fill out the questionnaire by March 1. After that, the Elections Committee will meet and determine for what races it can make an endorsement and for what races it needs to talk to candidates further.
There are definitely topics we aren't asking. We couldn't cover everything and wanted to keep from demanding too much from very busy candidates. This survey isn't the end of the process and we'll likely be speaking further with candidates in a number of races.
And whether you're a candidate or not, stay up to date on our elections coverage with our weekly newsletter!
Questions for congressional candidates (MD-06 and VA-10):
1. What role should the federal government play over the next 15-20 years in addressing Metro’s maintenance funding needs and funding ongoing operations? Would you require other changes (governance, labor, etc.) before you can support it?
2. Given limited resources, how would you balance funding for road expansion and transit, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements in any federal transportation legislation?
3. What mechanisms would you support to bring in funding for infrastructure (maintenance and expansion)? Some proposed methods include increased use of public-private partnerships; tolls; selling off public assets like the airports, parkways, or aqueduct; gas taxes; or general taxes. What do you favor and what would you oppose?
4. Which HUD programs are your top priority for continuing federal support for the creation and maintenance of affordable housing? What additional steps do you believe the federal government should be taking that would directly support affordable housing in your district?
5. Your district includes areas around Metro stations, suburban developments, and rural land. As it grows, where would you like to see new housing and jobs placed? How would you balance the need for housing and commercial activity, open space, and other priorities?
Questions for Maryland state-level candidates (governor and state legislature):
1. Do you support dedicated, bondable funding for Metro totaling at least $500 million a year including at least $167 million from Maryland? How would you achieve this and what funds would you use? Do you require other steps (governance, labor, etc.) before you can support it?
2. Do you support Governor Hogan’s proposed expansion of I-495, I-270, and/or the BW Parkway? Why or why not? With limited public funding, would you prioritize that, transit expansion like MARC, BRT, the Corridor Cities Transitway, Southern Maryland Rapid Transit, or other projects?
3. Do you think the State Highway Administration appropriately balances walking, bicycling, car, and transit needs or does it favor fast car movement to the exclusion of other needs? Would you support changes to SHA oversight and policies to make streets safer for walking and biking even if it slows down car traffic?
4. Should the state take steps to ensure that existing and newly transit-rich areas (such as the areas surrounding the coming Purple Line) accommodate increased demand to live there, remain affordable to residents of all incomes, and enable existing residents and businesses to enjoy the benefits? What policies would you support?
5. Our region shares many things: a transit system, a housing market, even a football team. Would you like to see Maryland, Virginia, and DC collaborate to avoid a race to the bottom? How does your approach shape your views on regional projects like Metro, Amazon’s HQ2 bid, and a possible new NFL stadium?
Questions for Montgomery County candidates (executive and county council)
1. Do you support Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along U.S. 29, including the proposal to extend dedicated lanes south of New Hampshire Avenue into downtown Silver Spring, even if this means removing or narrowing general purpose lanes in some locations?
2. Are you committed to implementation of Vision Zero (zero traffic deaths)? What is the most important change to the roadways, law, or DOT practices that could bring about Vision Zero?
3. Montgomery County has many proposed transportation projects, including a county-wide Bus Rapid Transit network, the Corridor Cities Transitway, MARC expansion, widening of I-495 and I-270, Midcounty Highway (M-83), Montrose Parkway East, and more. With limited county funds and state willingness to fund projects in the county, how would you prioritize these or other projects? Why?
4. To meet the need for homes in Montgomery County as identified by the county's recent Rental Housing Study, would you support zoning changes to streamline approval for multifamily housing and with reduced minimum parking requirements within 1/2 mile of Metro and 1/4 mile of Purple Line, MARC, and BRT stations?
5. The county's recent Rental Housing Study noted that 38 percent of the rental housing demand is from households below 50 percent AMI, but only 19 percent of housing is affordable at that level. How would you like to see the county close this gap?
6. Which proposal do you support for the redevelopment of the old Silver Spring Library? What do you believe is the best use of the site, and how does that reflect your general approach to new development and redevelopment projects?
7. Many Montgomery County candidates say they want to see more community engagement in land use and transportation decisions. Whose voices do you think are under-represented now, and why? What would you do to help those voices be heard?
Questions for Prince George’s County candidates (executive and county council):
1. Prince George’s County is the most dangerous in Maryland for pedestrians and cyclists. Why do you think this is? Is there a role for you in changing this?
2. Currently, The Bus is the only bus network in the region that provides no weekend or evening service, although Prince George’s County has a high concentration of workers in the service industry who don’t work 9-5 jobs. Would you support extending The Bus service hours to better match what is provided by other jurisdictions?
3. Do you support Governor Hogan’s proposal to widen I-495 and/or the B-W Parkway? Why or why not?
4. What is your top economic development priority, and what strategies do you plan to use to achieve it?
5. The county is currently developing a Comprehensive Housing Strategy. What are your goals and priorities for that? How would you combat the problems of evictions and foreclosures?
6. A development review process known as “call-up” was previously struck down by the state Supreme Court, but a similar process, known as “election,” is proposed in the current draft of the county's zoning rewrite. Do you support including or removing “election” in the final zoning code?
7. Do you support allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs), sometimes known as “granny flats,” in single-family home zones? Why or why not?
Questions for District of Columbia candidates:
1. DC is amending its Comprehensive Plan. Do you support policies in the new Comp Plan to a) add housing in all parts of the city to meet the need, b) create and preserve much more affordable housing, and c) strengthen protections for tenants in affordable housing being redeveloped? How would you achieve these?
2. Do you support dedicated bus lanes and protected bike lanes? Would you support them even if that required removing on-street parking in some cases? Can you give examples of locations you would or would not like to see a bus and/or protected bike lane?
3. Do you support dedicated, bondable funding for Metro totaling at least $500 million a year including $178 million from DC? How would you achieve this? Do you require other steps (governance, labor, etc.) before you can support it?
4. Do you support funding the DC Streetcar to extend east to Benning Road Metro in Ward 7 and west in dedicated lanes to Georgetown? What infrastructure to improve access by District residents to jobs, schools, and businesses would you support funding?
5. Last year, the DC Council approved $36 million in tax-increment financing to subsidize 600 additional parking spaces at Union Market. Are you supportive of the way that TIF proceeded or would you like to see changes for future TIFs, regarding parking and/or in general?
6. Nearly 20 percent of all property in DC is protected by historic preservation law — more than Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia combined. Do you think DC's historic preservation process is striking the right balance or needs changes to preserve our history without excluding potential residents from many neighborhoods?
7. The District continues to face significant income inequality. What specifically do you think the District should do to close this gap? Relatedly, what you think the District should do to support those who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness?
8. How would you support using the District's current budget surplus? If in the future the District falls into recession creating budget gaps in the $200-400 million range, what would you propose doing then?
FOR CHAIRMAN CANDIDATES ONLY: Due to their length and midday time, many residents other than retirees and people being paid to attend can't realistically participate in most DC Council hearings. Budgets which come from the chairman with substantial changes the night before the vote don't allow for much public participation. How would you improve council processes and/or technology to improve public participation?
Questions for Arlington County candidates:
1. Do you think the current accessory dwelling process is working well? Do you support the County Board's recent changes? Would you expand it to allow converting existing garages or other structures? What other changes would you make?
2. Arlington adopted an affordable housing master plan in 2015 which sets a goal of 600 new units per year and 17 percent of housing affordable to people making 60 percent of AMI or less. What would you do to ensure it reaches those goals?
3. How would you approach the future of the Lee Highway area? How would you manage the transitions between property on Lee Highway directly and the nearby single-family areas? Would you support transportation changes that improve bus and/or bicycle access even if it might slow down single-passenger car traffic?
4. What do you think is the best way to improve mobility in the Columbia Pike corridor? Would you support changes that improve bus and/or bicycle access even if it might slow down single-passenger car traffic?
5. What areas of the budget should be targeted for reduction and which should be protected from cuts, given the county board’s no tax increase direction?
6. If Virginia provides more money to Metro, there's a strong possibility that NVTA local funds will be redirected to this goal. If that happens, what would be your priorities for reductions in the county's transportation capital plan?
Questions for Alexandria candidates:
1. Do you support the existing plans for a network of bus lanes/Bus Rapid Transit and bike lanes? Are there specific proposed ones you do not support, or ones you would add? Would you support building these lanes even if it meant removing or narrowing some existing driving lanes?
2. A task force recently concluded that commercial parking requirements are causing an oversupply in many cases. What outcomes would you like to see from a reduction in minimum requirements?
3. Alexandria is growing rapidly, largely through redevelopment of areas like Potomac Yard, Eisenhower, and Landmark. Once those redevelopments are complete, where and how would you look to accommodate the city's growing population?
4. If Virginia provides more money to Metro, there's a strong possibility that NVTA local funds will be redirected to this goal. If that happens, what would be your priorities for reductions in the city's transportation capital plan?
5. ARHA is planning to redevelop much of the city’s public housing. What do you need to see as a part of such a redevelopment plan for it receive your approval? What do you see as the role for Resolution 830 for the future of Alexandria and the city’s public housing units?
6. Do you support a dedicated source of funding for the local housing trust fund? What is the best way to raise resources for this need?