The Charles County commissioners designated the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project as the county’s top transportation priority for fiscal 2016.
Presented Tuesday by Jason Groth, the county’s chief of resource and infrastructure management, the commissioners’ letter to Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn requests $20 million to $25 million in additional funding from MDOT to begin the project planning stage for the light rail plan. Project planning is expected to take four to five years to complete. In the letter, the commissioners gave preference to light rail over a bus rapid transit system.
The extra funding would supplement the $5 million already invested in the state study on transit mode options, ridership estimates, alignments and station locations. The allocation would help complete the evaluations to secure future federal funding for the light rail route’s engineering, right of way acquisition and construction phases.
A state Senate committee made extensive changes Friday to four tax-relief bills proposed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who aides say could withhold some funding for schools or employee raises unless the legislature approves tax relief.
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee killed a bill that would have exempted police, firefighters and other first responders from paying income taxes on a chunk of their pensions. It significantly watered down bills that would have halted automatic increases in the state gas tax, eliminated personal property taxes for some small businesses and exempted all military retirement income from being taxed.
Budget Secretary David Brinkley said the failure to grant tax relief could affect Hogan’s willingness to sign off on votes by the Democratic-led legislature to add school funding to the governor’s budget proposal or to grant a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for state employees.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, MACo negotiated with other stakeholders on a set of substantial amendments to HB 755/SB 695, which will make major changes to Maryland’s Public Information Act (PIA). The Senate has already unanimously passed the bill, and a subcommittee of the House Health and Government Operations Committee is set to take up the bill on March 31. Below is a summary of the many changes to PIA law made by the amended bill.
State Public Information Act Compliance Board
The bill would create a State Public Information Act Compliance Board. The Board would consist of 5 members: one records custodian representative nominated by MACo and the Maryland Municipal League, one nonprofit representative nominated by representatives of the open government and news media communities, and three “neutral” representatives selected by the Governor.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a North Carolina sex offender should have another chance to challenge an order that he wear a GPS monitoring bracelet around the clock and for the rest of his life.
The justices said the state’s highest court must reconsider whether North Carolina violated Torrey Dale Grady’s constitutional rights when it ordered him to wear the ankle bracelet beginning in 2013.
North Carolina is among at least eight states that have a system for lifetime monitoring for convicted sex offenders. More than 40 states impose some kind of monitoring as a condition of probation or release from prison.
The New Jersey man Governor Christie told to “sit down and shut up” when he complained about the state’s Superstorm Sandy response is now running for state Assembly as the “voice” of local families.
James Keady said he is confident he has more than 100 signatures on nominating petitions due on Monday to get on the ballot for the Democratic primary in June to represent Ocean County’s 30th Legislative District.
Keady rejected the advice he got from the governor at a press conference on the Jersey Shore in October when he hoisted a sign admonishing Christie, a potential 2016 Republican contender for the White House, to “Stay in NJ & finish the job” on the two-year anniversary of the devastating storm that killed at least 159 people and destroyed more than 650,000 homes.
A Virginia lab could be on the verge of a breakthrough in cancer treatment.
Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine say they are closing in on a new way to target leukemia cells that could be more effective and less toxic for patients than therapies currently in use.
“In order to get away from that class of drugs, we need to develop drugs that very specifically target the proteins that are causative of the disease,” says John Bushweller, the UVA professor who is leading the research team.
Susan Bernardo trusted her stockbroker. She wound up losing a fortune.
Her broker, David Harris, advised her to sell $400,000 worth of relatively safe municipal bonds, she says, and sink the proceeds into real estate and energy partnerships in hopes of earning more income. She had received the money from a settlement after her husband died in an accident and needed it to raise her small son.
More than six years later, those investments are in trouble. The stream of interest payments she used for living expenses has mostly dried up and the value of her portfolio is half of what it was, according to a financial planner who helped her file a claim against the broker.
It’s a question many people ask themselves while shopping for produce at grocery stores: should I buy organic?
Experts at Consumer Reports say that buying organic is the best choice because it is better for your health, the environment and those who grow the food. Also, there is a diminished risk for pesticides exposure.
Earlier this month, Consumer Reports scientists and a Washington State University researcher analyzed data from the Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program to determine the risk of pesticide exposure from eating fruits and vegetables from 14 different countries.
After running the gauntlet of Congressional hearings over the last two weeks, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler remains confident that the net neutrality rules the agency passed last month will survive upcoming challenges in court.
He made the prediction Friday speaking at the Ohio State University. Moritz College of Law as part of a “Future of Internet Regulation.”
The open Internet, or net neutrality, rules give the Federal Communications Commission authority to prevent Internet service providers from blocking or throttling content users want to access and from seeking payments in exchange for faster delivery. a practice called “paid prioritization.”
Is it American to require someone to buy American?
That was in essence the debate that consumed the Florida House for a few moments Friday when it considered a bill named the “All American Flag Act.”
The measure would require that whenever cities, counties and state government buy state and American flags, those flags must be made in the United States.
In strictly economic terms, sprawl is inefficient. Spread people out, and it takes them longer to drive where they need to go, and it costs them more in gas money to get there. Disperse a few people over a lot of land, and that land is used inefficiently, too. Then give those people roads and sewers — you’d need a lot more of both to serve 20 households living over a square mile than 20 on the same block. And that’s to say nothing of the costs of fire and police service when people live far apart.
These costs add up, in both private budgets and public ones. It’s a messy thought exercise to contemplate tallying them, akin to trying to calculate the productivity America wastes by sitting in traffic every year. How do you measure, for instance, the saved health care costs in a community where many people walk for transportation every day? How do you quantify the pleasure gained from a big yard that offsets any of these costs?
So take this number as more of a starting point than a final answer: A new analysis authored by Todd Litman at the Victoria Transport Policy Institute concludes that sprawl costs the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion every year.
Police are on the scene of an incident outside Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County.
From Chopper4, emergency workers could be seen caring for an injured, uniformed man who was loaded into an ambulance.