Last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser presented her Fiscal Year 2019 budget and financial plan for the District. The mayor shared her priorities, aimed at giving “A Fair Shot” to residents across all eight wards.
I applaud her investment in infrastructure and transportation, which includes community spaces such as recreation centers, swimming pools and parks. In the budget is $430 million to fix roads, sidewalks and alleys. The goal is to repair all roads in poor condition by 2024, alleys by 2021 and sidewalks by 2020. For those of us in Ward 2, this is very welcome news.
There’s no doubt that investments in public transportation are also needed to alleviate traffic in one of the world’s most congested cities. The District recently welcomed its 700,000th resident and we’re on track to add more in the coming years.
Repairing and maintaining our roads, bridges, alleyways and sidewalks is of the utmost importance as more people are choosing to live here. The safety of my constituents is one of my top priorities.
Over time, there will be more commuters utilizing a variety of transit options. Drivers, bikers, pedestrians and, yes, even those who commute by the new scooter-sharing services are hitting streets at the same time. We’re fortunate to live in a city that offers a mass transit system, which is vital to the future growth and viability of Washington, D.C.
I am pleased to share that the mayor included dedicated funding for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in the FY19 budget. The mayor’s proposal includes $178.5 million, which moves the region closer to securing dedicated funding for Metro. With the District’s proposal advancing and Virginia recently agreeing to its $155 portion of the dedicated funding, it is now Maryland’s turn to approve legislation to meet its regional counterparts to reach the $500-million mark.
The District’s portion of the dedicated funding, incidentally, will come from one percent of the current retail sales tax.
The region is approaching a historic moment when the three jurisdictions can work toward a common goal to ensure that Metro can properly serve riders. We all know that Metro’s infrastructure is in dire need of repair and improvements. Dedicated funding for the system will address many of these issues.
As the Council proceeds with hearings on the FY19 budget, I’m looking forward to residents’ testimony.
Jack Evans is the District Council member for Ward 2, representing Georgetown and other neighborhoods since 1991.