County executive contenders are sparring over whether the Republican gubernatorial candidate has promised state funds to upgrade Md. 75, a corridor targeted for intense development.

The narrow country highway has played a central role in citizen protest over several large residential projects approved for the southeastern part of the county. Residents turned up in droves at public hearings to describe the traffic congestion and safety risks that would come from building the 1,100-home Landsdale development and the 1,250-home Monrovia Town Center along Md. 75.

Commissioners President Blaine Young, who helped approve the developments and is running for county executive, agrees that the highway needs improvement. And although the project is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the GOP candidate says state help is on the way if Republican Larry Hogan becomes Maryland’s next governor.

Young’s opponent, Democrat Jan Gardner, says she’s not holding her breath.

Gardner said in three recent debates that Young has claimed that Hogan has committed to fund the highway upgrade if he wins the state’s highest elected post.

Last week, she wrote to Hogan asking him to confirm that he had promised to fund Md. 75 and to explain where he would find money for the improvements. She also pressed him to reconcile the commitment with the fact that Md. 75 is not in a priority funding area, or a region targeted for state road and school funding.

In response, Hogan’s communications and policy director, Adam Dubitsky, issued a two-paragraph statement that faulted Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for raiding the state’s transportation trust fund and taking money away from local roads projects.

“As governor, Larry Hogan will restore local highway user revenues to local governments and make sure a higher percentage of transportation dollars are spent on building and maintaining our roads — a true reflection of Marylanders transportation needs,” Dubitsky said in the statement sent to The Frederick News-Post. “Larry will work with Blaine Young as County Executive to improve roads like Route 75 in Frederick County.”

Young said the county can leverage highway user revenue and contributions from developers to chip away at improving Md. 75.

“It wouldn’t all happen immediately, but we would get it into the pipeline,” Young said of the project.

He said the statement from the Hogan campaign demonstrates a solid commitment to Md. 75 and other Frederick County roads projects.

Gardner reads the statement very differently.

“Larry Hogan has made clear he has no intent to fund Md. 75,” she said. “What Blaine is telling people is smoke and mirrors.”

She said the campaign’s statement, which she did not receive, does not answer the questions she raised in her letter. State action to restore highway user revenue is a far cry from directly funding the Md. 75 project, she said.

In fiscal 2008, the state’s budget provided Frederick County with $14.15 million in highway user revenue, but the funding levels took a nose dive in the following years. Since then, the state contribution has been on a slow recovery and is now at about $1.3 million for fiscal 2015.

State projections show reconstructing the road would cost about $262 million, said Ron Burns, the county’s engineering supervisor for traffic and transportation. Burns estimates that widening the road to four lanes could push this figure to $500 million.

But Young said developer contributions can help close the gap; Burns reported that developers have committed almost $24 million to improvements along the highway.

Steve McKay, president of Residents Against Landsdale Expansion, charges Young with obscuring the reality that the project is nowhere on the horizon.

“There’s so many reasons to doubt the likelihood of this huge road project happening,” he said.

He points to a Sept. 25 letter from the Maryland Department of Transportation that mentions that the highway is outside of priority funding areas, used by the state to encourage smart growth practices. The letter makes prospects for state funding look bleak, said McKay, whose group has opposed developments in the Md. 75 corridor.

However, Young asserts that the state’s stance on growth will change under the Hogan administration. Young says he is surprised Gardner has not secured similar assurances from Brown, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

“It is sad that as a candidate she has not and will not get Anthony Brown on the record to step up and get a commitment to fund a state responsibility” such as Md. 75, he said.

Gardner said she is not making public claims that Brown will fund the project.

Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.

(16) comments

jill king

This proves nothing. The Gardner camp is all about smoke and mirrors, while the turn the County Government into a lower populated version of Montgomery County. Every time she answers a question it means taxpayer beware!

Extra Ignored

If it was meaningless you wouldn't have needed to comment.

In fact it is Blaine Young who expects the state tax payers to bail out the county because it is his decisions that make improvement of MD 75 necessary.

Hayduke2

Seems to me a classic answer from Hogan's folks - say a lot but really say nothing.
There is and will be no money for this because it is outside of a priority funding area.
Even if they restored the $14.15 million from 2008, how is that going to pay for needed improvements in the $260 -$500 million dollar range. Blaine Young BOCC was shortsighted, greedy, and living in an alternate reality when they approved the thousands of houses for the 75 corridor. This doesn't even account for mess in Hyattstown where 75 is going to funnel all of this traffic. There is one main north-south route for commuters - Rt. 75. How is it possible that this really wasn't factored into the equation? The $24 million collected will do nothing more than create numerous new bottlenecks. The sad part is this short-sighted BOCC has made future elected officials hand-cuffed with their developer friendly DRRA's for several DECADES. ( Realize that children born today will still be impacted by this when they turn 21 years of age!)

matts853

Blaine's ego is writing checks his body can't cash.

On the flip side, his greed is readily accepting developer checks he can cash.

MCEDDE21

Did Larry Hogan answer Jan Gardner's question? No. Instead, his communications director said, “As governor, Larry Hogan will restore local highway user revenues to local governments and make sure a higher percentage of transportation dollars are spent on building and maintaining our roads — a true reflection of Marylanders transportation needs,”

This is the classic Nixonian non-denial, denial (with a few added twists). As explained by Dan Froomkin at The Intercept: The central purpose… “is to convey the impression that you have denied doing the thing you did, without technically denying it.”

Instead of stating plainly whether or not the State will provide the needed $500 Million for widening Rt. 75, Hogan’s proxy shrouds the issue in layers of unrelated and fantastic allusions to what might happen in the highly unlikely event that Hogan will capture the Governor’s Mansion and the Republicans will capture the State House! Then... maybe... somehow, the locals will receive a “higher percentage of transportation dollars” to be spent on “building and maintaining”…

So, Hogan ducks the whole issue and Blaine claims he didn’t. Ol’ Tricky Dick, wherever he is right now, must surely be grinning from ear-to-ear!

richardlyons

Nov 4th; Adios Moe! Vote!

Tigerzord

Blaine Young should NEVER have approved all those developments - more than just Landsdale & Monrovia Town Center - over 10,000 new houses! Assurances for funds on road upgrades should have been secured first! Not the measly $24 Million from developers - the project is estimated at $500,000,000 for MD 75. Now Blaine relies on Hogan winning the gubernatorial election to fix the mess he has created - doesn't sound like the kind of candidate I want running for County Executive. And Hogan has not committed to any funds for MD75 anyway! So guess who will be stuck with the bill? YOU! the tax payer. Blaine is playing with your money - while he must be getting something in return.... we know he is getting over $450,000 in campaign contributions from developers alone.

armillary

Blaine makes a personal promise that developer Larry Hogan will fund the infrastructure that Blaine refused to make the developers pay for. By the way, does Blaine know that the population of Frederick county makes up just 4 percent of the population of the state of Maryland? If fixing Blaine's mistakes isn't on the top of the Legislature's list, that could explain why.

He reminds me of the type of person who goes on a shopping spree after buying a lottery ticket, convinced that he'll have plenty of money to pay his bills when his ticket wins.

Tigerzord

[thumbup]

MCEDDE21

[thumbup]Yes. He wants to fund education the same way, by purchasing lottery tickets. He was born a gamblin' man[sad]

Comment deleted.
FrederickFan

Your boys just got caught spending at least $476,000,000 they didn't have.

Can you explain that one for us?

FrederickFan

Blaine Young has just locked us all into a $476 million future tax increase to fund his projects on Rt. 75.

He is lying about the funding.

The taxpayers have to pay $476 million so Young can pocket some campaign contributions.

janhgardner

The point of this exchange was to verify whether Blaine Young's public statements that Hogan had committed to fund this road improvement were true. Hogan would not verify the commitment. Thus, Blaine is misrepresenting Hogan's position.and has not secured money for this road.

public-redux

Yup, that is how I understood it. Person A says person B said a certain thing. Person C asks B if B actually said that certain thing to A. B won't say so. Sounds like A told a lie.

Extra Ignored

Voters need to take a hint: Larry Hogan = Blaine Young

According to Blaine Young's campaign finance report he paid $0.25 per mile for use of the "Blaine Bus."

01/09/2013 LaForce Jr, Jack R
10944 Pleasant Walk Rd, Myersville, MD 21773
$758.00
Remarks: Use of vehicle for campaign events at 25 cents per mile for 1032 miles.

http://www.your4state.com/story/d/story/md-governor-hopeful-blaine-young-adds-the-blaine-b/68790/PuWylLKo8EakuhWInSlueg

Dubitsky declined to say how much Hogan paid for the bus, but said the monthly payments from the campaign equal what Hogan pays to finance the bus. The make and model retails for $97,000 to $225,000, according to online sales information.

DeMarinis said the board will also look closely at whether the $683.77 monthly payment to Hogan is fair-market value for renting the bus, since it's illegal for anyone to offer freebies to campaigns in excess of donation limits.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/campaign-2014/bs-md-hogan-campaign-bus-20140906,0,2409470.story

Extra Ignored

“It is sad that as a candidate she has not and will not get Anthony Brown on the record to step up and get a commitment to fund a state responsibility” such as Md. 75, [Blaine Young] said.

What a (shame - e) indeed; not getting a promise to spend state tax payer money to fund the building of a road to support a county development approved by the county executive candidate Blaine Young to save him from the consequences of his actions.

sham noun \ˈsham\

: something that is not what it appears to be and that is meant to trick or deceive people

: someone who deceives people by pretending to be a particular kind of person, to have a particular skill, etc.

: words or actions that are not sincere or honest

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sham

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