Purple Line will open a year late and delays will cost at least $215 million, contractor says

The opening of Maryland’s Purple Line is at least a year behind schedule, and delays have added at least $215 million to the light-rail line’s cost, according to project documents. Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), a team of companies building the 16-mile line and helping to finance its construction, has told the state the line won’t begin carrying passengers until February 2023. That’s almost a year behind the March 2022 opening date in the project’s contract and four months behind the October 2022 date that Maryland transit officials insist is still possible, according to reports obtained by The Washington Post through public record requests. (Wash. Post)

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Preakness makes more sense in Laurel, Senate President Miller says

The effort to rebuild Pimlico and keep the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore appeared to take a significant blow Thursday after Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. threw his support behind moving the race to Laurel. Miller, a Prince George's County Democrat who is the longest-tenured Senate president in the entire U.S., said as a historian he loves Pimlico. But he also said the price tag for a possible redevelopment of the 149-year-old track is too high for a project that "does nothing for the communities around it." (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Maryland regulators: Is medical marijuana effective for treating opioid addiction? Answer: It's complicated

As opioid overdose deaths continued to mount in Maryland last year, state lawmakers asked medical marijuana regulators to determine whether cannabis could be effective at treating addiction to heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone. The answer — not really — was submitted to the General Assembly this week by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. “A comprehensive review of existing medical literature shows that there is no credible scientific evidence backing up the claims that cannabis is beneficial in treating addiction, and that there is some evidence suggesting that it may exacerbate substance use and dependency issues,” the commission’s 20-page report states. (Balt. Sun)

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Annapolis to install first city-owned traffic light in more than a decade

Downtown Annapolis will get its first new traffic signal in more than a decade as part of a slate of upcoming infrastructure and building projects. The intersection of Randall Street and Dock Street will get a traffic signal, thanks to a study determining the number of pedestrians using the crosswalks warranted a timed light. The signal would be the first city-owned traffic stoplight installed in Annapolis in more than a decade, city civil engineer Lisa Greico said. (Capital)

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The Maryland Park Service is merging all state park social media accounts. It hasn't gone over well

The Maryland Park Service is eliminating several dozen park-unique social media accounts, consolidating its messaging on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram into single accounts, much to the chagrin of parkgoers who like and want park-specific information. Word of the consolidation came on Twitter in postings that read: “Happy New Year! As part of our resolution to streamline communications from Maryland State Parks, we are merging this account with @MDStateParks. Please be sure to follow that account today to keep up-to-date with events and news! This account will be closed on January 31.” (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore County executive names commission to study budget

The former head of the Social Security Administration and an aide to the Baltimore City Council president are among the people named Thursday to a commission that will study the Baltimore County budget. County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. assembled the seven-member group to find ways to increase transparency in the budget process and make recommendations for sustainability amid the county’s strained fiscal outlook. Olszewski appointed Carolyn Colvin, the former Social Security acting commissioner; Lester Davis, aide to Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young; Warren Deschenaux, the retired executive director of the Maryland Department of Legislative Services; and Don Mohler, the former county executive. (Balt. Sun)

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Washington County officials remind delegation of local priorities

Washington County Commissioners’ President Jeff Cline and County Administrator Robert Slocum met with local lawmakers to discuss the county’s priorities during this year’s legislative session, which began Wednesday. Though county officials met with the local delegation last month, Cline said there were three reasons he and Slocum traveled to Annapolis this week. “One, we want to demonstrate support and unity for your work down here,” he said. “That’s very important that we stand behind all the issues that relate to Washington County and Western Maryland. … I think it’s important to share that we’re going to be involved and engaged and supportive of your actions down here.” (Herald-Mail)

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West Ocean City Bike Path Talks Continue

A representative with the State Highway Administration took time this week to address resort officials concerns regarding a design flaw in the proposed bike-friendly trail along the Route 50 corridor. In December, members of the Mayor and Council questioned the State Highway Administration’s (SHA) plans for a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly trail along the Route 50 corridor in West Ocean City. The trail, which spans the length of Route 50 from Route 611 to a block before the bridge, will cross at the light near Hooper’s Crab House and continue in a grassy area to the north of the highway until it reaches the bridge. (O.C. Md. News)

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