Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the newly elected County Council should focus on the disgraceful condition of our roads in Montgomery County. Throughout the county, roads are often so bumpy as well as ugly that driving over them is like driving on a rutted, unpaved road.
The reason is simple: For years, the county has been neglecting spending money on regular road resurfacing in favor of other projects. Indeed, according to the County Infrastructure Maintenance Task Force Report, in order for the county to properly maintain our roads, the county would need to spend $49 million a year vs. the $17.1 million a year the county is actually spending for road resurfacing this fiscal year.
As a result, according to the county’s own budget, the condition of Montgomery County’s roads is so poor that only 30 percent of residential roads and 33 percent of main roads can be expected to be rated good or better in quality in the current fiscal year.
Because of these annual shortfalls in funding, the county would need to spend a shocking $737 million to offset this backlog and get our roads back to approved standards, the report says.
Few county services are as essential as maintaining safe and attractive roads. The dilapidated condition of our roads diminishes property values and therefore revenue from property taxes and discourages newcomers and businesses from relocating here.
Why would anyone buy a house on a street that is maintained as in a third world country when they could buy a home in northern Virginia, where roads are well-maintained?
As one of the wealthiest counties in the country, it is shameful that our elected leaders have shortsightedly not seen fit to properly take care of this most basic function of government!
Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the White House, Secret Service, FBI and CIA. He lives in Potomac.
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