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ON THE MOVE & Ohio dance troupe visits for Strathmore choreographer’s big night. B-5 The Gazette BETHESDA | CHEVY CHASE | KENSINGTON DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, January 15, 2014 25 cents Capital budget to focus on schools, roads Budget outlines proposed six-year spending plan n BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE A pedestrian dashes across Rockville Pike between Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Medical Center Metro station in Bethesda on Tuesday. Tunnel under Rockville Pike moving forward Project includes elevators to take commuters 120 feet down to Metro n BY AGNES BLUM STAFF WRITER A pedestrian tunnel that will run under Rockville Pike, allowing workers at the Walter Reed Medical Campus to get to the Medical Center Metro station, got its final OK from the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday. The $68 million project, funded by federal grants, will be overseen by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, according to county documents. The project, officially called the “Maryland Route 355 Multimodal Crossing Proj- ect,” was the last BRAC project the board would be reviewing, said Larry Cole, the county’s lead planner. BRAC stands for the federally mandated Base Realignment and Closure. The project would construct a shallow pedestrian tunnel accessed by stairs, an escalator and two elevators on each side of Rockville Pike, near South Wood Road and South Drive in Bethesda. Three elevators on the east side of Rockville Pike would whisk commuters 120 feet below ground to the Medical Center Metro Station mezzanine. Emergency stairs would also provide access to the street level from the Metro mezzanine, according to county documents. “This project would add an east side entrance,” Cole said, meaning people will not have to wait for the light and cross Rockville Pike to get to the Metro. The changes would also ease traffic problems in the area. “Traffic congestion is very high here so anything we can do to move things along would be a benefit,” Cole said. Because of BRAC, many more people are coming into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, said Holger Serrano, an engineer with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. Those numbers are projected to increase and that’s why the three new elevators are needed. Safety features in the tunnel will include cameras, lighting and emergency call boxes, Cole said. See TUNNEL, Page A-12 Montgomery County would pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the White Flint area to promote private growth and redevelopment around the Metro station under a fiscal year 2015 capital budget proposed by County Executive Isiah Leggett. Almost $340 million of public money will be dedicated to generating private investment of even more money in White Flint, according to a draft copy of the proposed budget provided to The Gazette. The six-year capital improvement plan features plans to construct a new road and bike lane on the area’s Main/Market Street, reconfiguring Executive Boulevard Prince George’s, Baltimore counties join in effort to pressure General Assembly n KATE S. ALEXANDER STAFF WRITER County executive said he respects, has ties to all three top Democrats n BY ANDREW SCHOTZ STAFF WRITER Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett — one of the region’s highest-stature Democrats — is standing clear of his party’s gubernatorial primary, for now. In a race among Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (Dist. 20) of Takoma Park for this year’s Democratic nomination, Leggett said Friday that he hasn’t decided whom to support. The primary will be held June 24. The general election will be Nov. 4. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is finishing his second term, the maximum allowed in Maryland. Asked during a meeting with Gazette reporters and editors if he had an allegiance in the race, Leggett said: “I have none at this point. I’ll tell you why. I hope and I anticipate that I may en- dorse at some point in the future, but I’m not sure. “I’m very close to Heather, very close to Doug, who I’ve worked with on a number of projects. They’re local Montgomery County residents. I know Anthony very well. I support a great deal of what he’s done. “We are fortunate to have several good candidates. I have not found a justification as to how to make a distinction between one or the other at this point in time. I talk to them a great deal and it’s my intent, and I hope to at some point, to make an endorsement, but at this point, not yet.” Brown was the first to release a list of elected officials in Maryland who back his campaign, including both U.S. senators and four U.S. representatives. Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., and several Montgomery County officials at the state and local levels are on the list, too. Gansler’s endorsement list includes about half of Montgomery County’s delegation and NEWS SPORTS Despite several delays during the remodeling process, Largent’s Restaurant and Bar in Kentlands is expected to open Feb. 1. Northwood punter/lineman suffers complications after a season of playing football with torn ACL. READY, SET, OPEN A-4 PLAYING THROUGH INJURY B-1 See LEGGETT, Page A-12 Automotive Business Calendar Classified Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please See BUDGET, Page A-12 Montgomery, allies vie for state school construction funds BY Leggett not yet backing a candidate for governor North and reconfiguring the intersection of Old Georgetown Road, Executive Boulevard and Hoya Street. The project includes $170 million in county funding for road projects on Montrose Parkway East and Chapman Avenue Extended and relocating the White Flint Fire Station to promote redevelopment in the area. The Montrose Parkway East portion will build a new road to connect with the existing Montrose Parkway/ Rockville Pike interchange to Viers Mill Road. There are also plans to build a new parking garage for a conference center in the area to combine with future retail space and areas for affordable housing. The White Flint plans are part of a $4.4 billion capital improvement plan Leggett is scheduled to share with the council on Wednesday. The three Maryland jurisdictions with the most population — Montgomery, Prince George’s and Baltimore counties — are calling on state lawmakers for money to build and renovate schools. Montgomery’s priority this session is establishing a steady, predictable stream of state money to leverage borrowing for school construction. County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said Montgomery’s enrollment grows annually by about 2,000 students, the equivalent of one high school. In 2013, Montgomery County Public Schools enrolled 151,289 students, up from 148,779 students in 2012. “We are seeing unprecedented growth that we alone cannot resolve,” Leggett said. “We cannot wait.” To build one high school costs Montgomery more than $100 million, he said. Its overall need is as high as $600 million to $700 million in a six-year period, he said. Leggett will release his sixyear capital improvements program Wednesday. House Speaker Michael E. Busch said Gov. Martin O’Malley’s fiscal 2015 capital budget, which also comes out Wednesday, includes $627 million for education. Exactly how much the “big three” counties seek from the state remains to be seen, but Leggett said Montgomery will put up money of its own to match. “We commit an awful lot already on construction dollars, and we’re willing to commit even more, but our commitment can only be See FUNDS, Page A-12 B-15 A-13 A-2 B-11 B-5 A-16 A-14 B-1 RECYCLE Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906227

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