Cumberland Times-News Thu Sep 23, 2010, 08:00 AM EDT
— Municipal and county governments are picking up an ally in their quest to have the state restore some of the highway user revenue that has been taken away over the last couple of years.
Organizers of the annual Mountain Maryland PACE reception and legislative breakfast will use the loss of road funding as a major talking point when the event is held in Annapolis this coming January.
As the state has coped with budget shortfalls, cuts to local government funding have been common. Among the hardest hit funding sector has been highway funding.
David Moe, PACE committee co-chairman, said the No. 1 priority for elected officials and business professionals in Western Maryland should be to convince lawmakers to restore highway user revenue funds. “The cut in highway user funds has been devastating for all municipalities,” Moe said. “It just cannot continue.”
For 35 years, a PACE reception (the acronym stands for Positive Attitudes Change Everything) has been held in Maryland’s capital to draw attention to the far western part of the state and to generate ideas on how to help improve economic development and quality of life here.
The 2011 reception will be held Jan. 27 and 28 and again will be a combined effort of Allegany and Garrett county leaders. The event is sponsored by the Cumberland-Allegany County Industrial Foundation and the Garrett County Development Corp.
PACE features a number of exhibits by local businesses and organizations and is attended by numerous many General Assembly members, aides, state government officials and lobbyists each year. “The idea is to get state government to remember Western Maryland doesn’t end at Frederick,” Moe commented.