Montgomery County officials pressed state leaders to support efforts to resolve the county's transportation problems.
"We will not go anywhere unless we solve the transportation problem, and we need the state to help us," County Executive Ike Leggett said.
Leggett spoke at the Committee for Montgomery breakfast at the Montgomery County Conference Center, where members of the Montgomery County Council and the delegation to the General Assembly shared the message that state investments in the county pay good dividends.
"For just as it was once said that what is good for General Motors is good for America, I am not alone in saying what is good for Montgomery County is good for the state of Maryland," Council President Roger Berliner said.
In his speech, Leggett said he had no "metaphorical line in the sand," a reference to his 2008 speech in which he warned the county would fight significant changes to teacher pension funding schemes that would shift massive expenses from state ledgers onto the county.
"We've taken the hard line stances, saying we know you're going to do what's right, but we haven't really gotten everything we need to, so we need to ... ask for the help," Councilmember Craig Rice said after the speeches. "We understand our success is contingent on them being able to fund us appropriately."
Berliner said the county wanted a partnership with the state.
"If you invest in our county, you will reap the dividends," he said. "My sense is that we've been on hold for a while going through this recession. It's time to be a little bolder than we have."
The headline speaker for the event was Senate President Mike Miller, who agreed Montgomery was the economic engine of the state. He peppered his speech with his own agenda for the 2012 General Assembly:
• The gas tax. Miller has been fighting for an increase to help pay for transportation improvements. "We're going to figure out how to make that gas tax happen," he said.
• A unified University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland at Baltimore and the Universities at Shady Grove. He called Shady Grove a "red-headed stepchild." The three should serve as a research triangle, he said.
• Increased gambling. Miller said he wanted to see slot machine gaming at either Rosecroft Raceway or National Harbor, both in Prince George's County. A voter referendum would need to approve the expansion.
After the event, Miller said new legislative district boundaries would be released on Thursday.