The County Council unanimously approved on Tuesday a $2.245 million capital budget amendment that’s aimed at accelerating the design and construction timeline of a bikeway project in the northeastern part of the county.
More action is needed to open the bikeway earlier than currently scheduled, but the decision to appropriate the money means that final design work for the Bowie Mill Bikeway — a 3.3-mile sidepath that would be 8 to 10 feet wide and run along Bowie Mill Road to Muncaster Mill Road — can be funded this fall instead of waiting until next year.
That could allow the project to be completed in fiscal year 2028 (which begins in July 2027) instead of fiscal year 2029, according to council staff reports. In order for that to occur, the council also would need to find more funding next spring to accelerate the construction of the project, council staff noted.
Council members had not previously included funding for the project in the county’s capital improvement plan for fiscal years 2023 to 2028, citing spending affordability guidelines within the budget, including the need to pay for other capital projects such as schools.
But Del. Eric Luedtke (D-Burtonsville), whose state legislative district includes the site of the bikeway project, raised concerns that he and other state legislators in District 14 had succeeded in getting $1.5 million in state funds approved for the project — but that county officials wouldn’t be able to use that money to accelerate the project by a year.
Council Member Nancy Navarro — who represents District 4, where the bikeway proposal is located — said she was happy the council approved the capital budget amendment.
“It has been a long-standing priority for the community and I have always advocated for its completion,” Navarro wrote in a text. “I am grateful to Del. Luedtke and the General Assembly for providing additional funding, which made this acceleration possible.”