ROCKVILLE — While traditionally reliant – in part – on county, state and federal dollars to assist with its infrastructure needs, Rockville is now increasingly having to rely on bonds to keep its bridges safe and its roads paved.
According to City Council member Mark Pierzchala, Rockville is receiving $4 million less in infrastructure funding from the county and state, meaning the City has had to turn to bonding to fund road and bridge projects.
“That’s a huge hit, year after year, and we’re having to bond new bridge projects and things we shouldn’t have to bond,” Pierzchala said.
The discussion of the infrastructure funding was part of the Mayor and City Council’s yearly review of federal priorities before the City’s delegations’ June 6 trip to Capitol Hill to lobby federal legislators for increased spending.
Among the City’s priorities discussed by the Mayor and Council included federal dollars for transportation, sewer, and stormwater management infrastructure. In total, the City is requesting $185,000 to help fund improvements in its sanitary sewer system, $758,800 in funds to help renovate its stormwater management system, and $1,065,000 to help renovate and maintain bridges and roads.
Craig L. Simoneau, director of the Rockville Department of Public Works, said the federal funding requests were based on projected needs for the City, with several bridges in need of repairs, as the biggest federal funding priority for the City he said.
“We have major bridge work coming up in the next few years that could use federal money,” Simoneau said.
Council member Beryl Feinberg said the City should explore participating in a regional effort for funding for a Department of Homeland Security federal grant in the hope Rockville could get more federal funding for emergency management.
“That’s one [ area] where I think we are missing the boat frankly, by not partnering enough,” Feinberg said.