Panel's rejection of federal funds achieves little Ridesharing can continue despite Balto. Co. Council

July 03, 1996|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County's cantankerous councilmen may learn how hard it is to just say no to the federal government.

The council's 5-2 vote Monday night to refuse $95,750 in federal money to run the local Ridesharing program may achieve nothing more than putting two county workers out of jobs.

That's because the state could hire a consultant to operate the program or run it with the same money, said Liz Kalinowski of the Department of Transportation.

Meanwhile, County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III said he would like the council to reconsider the vote, but would not make it a major issue. "In order to send a message are we hurting ourselves?" Ruppersberger said.

His administration has aggressively sought state and federal money for school construction, community revitalization and other programs. Officials often complain they get back 60 cents on the dollar for taxes paid by residents to state and federal governments.

Giving up federal money for the Ridesharing program will mean that other county employees will have to do some of the work anyway, county transportation planner J. Craig Forrest said. The council approved a companion bill adding $30,000 to $121,000 in federal money for other programs to cut pollution and promote van pools that have been administered by the Ridesharing workers.

Council Chairman Kevin Kamenetz, a Pikesville-Randallstown Democrat who voted for the bill, said the rejection reflects the constant struggle over accepting federal and state money that members aren't sure is well spent.

"Is it our job to turn down money given to us by the federal and state governments?" he said. "I don't think it makes any point."

Louis L. DePazzo, a Dundalk Democrat who voted against the funding, said he would not reconsider. "I couldn't hear, see, vTC smell or taste those funds," he said, citing the "total invisibility of the program."

Pub Date: 7/03/96

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