Looking down the road to White Flint infrastructure improvements -- Gazette.Net


County engineers are working on designs for the street network in White Flint, but actually building and upgrading the roads depends on several factors, including how quickly tax revenues from the area come in.

“This is a 25- to 30-year plan, so all of the infrastructure is not funded up front,” said Dee Metz, the county’s White Flint implementation coordinator.

The county’s White Flint Sector plan calls for building a network of smaller streets, sometimes called the western and eastern workarounds, on both sides of Rockville Pike.

“Everybody’s wanting to build the entire western workaround and eastern workaround when only certain streets were agreed (upon) for forward funding,” Metz said.

The first phase of rebuilding White Flint’s roads includes designing the western workaround, realigning Executive Boulevard and constructing Market Street. The transportation department has also recommended realigning the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard, which could add another $30 million to the up-front price tag, Metz said.

Eventually, revenue from the special taxing district that covers the White Flint Sector Plan area would pay for other infrastructure improvements, but right now, the special taxing district is taking in a little less than $1 million in taxes per year — not nearly enough to pay for even a small portion of the western workaround. When the county set up the taxing district, officials estimated that it would add about 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

“That’s going to take a little while to build up,” Metz said.

Another factor in how quickly the western workaround gets built is how quickly developers submit plans for the properties where Montgomery County wants to build new roads.

The White Flint Sector Plan assumed that most of the necessary right-of-way for the western workaround would be dedicated by developers as they submitted plans for their properties, Metz said. Because some of those developers have not yet submitted their plans, the county doesn’t know for certain if they will dedicate the right-of-way or if some of it will have to be purchased.

“The roads are proceeding and are on time based on what the original projections were,” Metz said. If the county had to find money to dedicate right-of-way, that could mean a holdup in the schedule, however.

“That would be a huge difference,” Metz said.

The designs for the western workaround are currently about 35 percent complete.