State Roundup, October 4, 2017

STATE SETTLES FAIR HOUSING CASE: Settling a fair-housing complaint brought against the state in 2011 by a coalition of civil rights and fair-housing advocacy organizations, Maryland has agreed to finance the development of 1,500 affordable housing units in prosperous neighborhoods throughout the Baltimore region and rewrite policies that civil rights groups say perpetuated segregation for decades, Sarah Gantz of the Sun reports.

DEFINING COST OF PURPLE LINE: For more than a year, Maryland officials have pegged the cost of building the 16-mile light-rail Purple Line through the Washington suburbs at $2 billion. So why does the Federal Transit Administration conclude in an Aug. 22 agreement to help fund construction of the project that the true cost is $2.4 billion — $400 million more? Apparently, reports Katherine Shaver in the Post, the definition of “construction cost” is open to interpretation, and Maryland officials leave out some major expenses.

NEW LAW MAY NOT WORK: Rachel Baye of WYPR-FM reports that a new state law that took effect this week makes major changes to criminal justice policies. The law is intended to save the state money by reducing prison populations, then invest the savingsin crime prevention efforts. But one provision that is designed to send offenders to treatment for drug and alcohol addiction may not work as planned.