This year in 2010, Maryland has made significant progress in moving Maryland forward in its BRAC transportation efforts. In very difficult times, we have triaged our BRAC transportation projects, to ensure that the most crucial infrastructure projects will be well on their way, if not completed by the September 2011 BRAC implementation date. Despite the economic downturn that impacted the nation, the O’Malley/Brown Administration has protected our BRAC transportation priorities, funding the BRAC intersection program in excess of $149 million to date. Recent highlights include:
On September 8th, Governor O’Malley announced $4.5 million in new funds to address BRAC transportation needs at Joint Base Andrews. “We are urgently focused, as are you, on creating jobs, saving jobs, and improving the conditions that allow businesses – businesses large, medium, and small – to create and save jobs,” said Governor O’Malley. “Investments in our infrastructure, including our schools and highways, have allowed us to hold on to jobs better than all but four other states and maintain a rate of unemployment that is 25% lower than the national rate. We live in a transformational time – and there is no State that is better equipped than ours to tap into the opportunities before us and the job-creating promise of the future.”
This included $2.5 million in federal funds, secured by Congresswomen Donna Edwards, to design improvements at two intersections impacted by BRAC traffic: MD 337 at I-495/I-95 Northbound off-ramp and MD 337 at Suitland Road / Westover Road. In addition, Governor O’Malley announced $2 million to fund improvements at the interchange at I-495 / Forestville Road (see press release: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/pressreleases/100908.asp).
On October 5th, we broke ground on the highest transportation priority project for Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) – US 40/MD 715, a $42.6 million project that will improve the interchange and widen MD 715 to the main gate of APG. We also announced $7.2 million in additional funding, to advance the next set of BRAC priorities at APG. This includes construction of Phase I of a project to improve US 40/MD 7/MD 159, and design work for intersections along MD 22 (see press release: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/ltgovernor/pressreleases/101005.asp).
At Fort Meade on October 13th, the Lt. Governor highlighted new funding and unprecedented partnerships for advancing the most important priorities for Fort Meade – a set of improvements along MD 175 from the Baltimore Washington Parkway, onto growth areas of Fort Meade.
- This includes a developer funded improvement from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD 295) to the MD 175/Rockenbach intersection;
- The State Highway Administration’s $25.5 million improvement project at the MD 175/Rockenbach/Disney intersections. Utility work is underway, and construction contracts are expected to be advertised this Fall;
- Improvements to the Rockenbach Gate at Fort Meade. This gate will experience a dramatic increase in traffic due to BRAC, yet the Army did not have the funds to improve the gate. SHA will provide $10 million to construct gate improvements, under an agreement signed that day. In exchange, the Army will provide 50-60 acres of land needed to widen MD 175 in the future.
At the event, the Lt. Governor also announced $1 million to launch planning efforts for the MD 32 corridor, in support of Cyber Command related growth at Fort Meade. While not part of BRAC, the planning needs for Cyber Command will be similar.
Also, in October, the BWI Business Partnership, in collaboration with the Central Maryland Regional Transit (CMRT), launched http://meaderide.com/. This portal site provides user access to transportation options to and from the Fort Meade region.
Capital projects have also advanced in support of BRAC actions at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC), and Fort Detrick. Key intersection improvements to be implemented by SHA proximate to the NNMC Campus recently completed the Mandatory Referral process conducted by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and can now proceed toward construction of priority phases. At Fort Detrick, design of the US 15/Monocacy Blvd interchange project continues and now stands at 50% complete. SHA will host a public meeting on the project on November 16th, the details of which are available here.
Progress was also made for an important initiative to support BRAC – Transportation Demand Management (TDM). This low cost program promotes marketing and encourages alternatives to driving alone to work, including car pools, van pools, subscription bus service, telework and flex time. By reducing the number of cars driven to the installations, it reduces traffic. It also provides the workforce with more commuting options.
To make TDM work, collaboration is needed among transit agencies, the employers, state and local governments and the private sector. Agreements were signed among the stakeholders at Fort Meade and APG to implement these programs. MDOT received $155,000 in grant support from the Office of Economic Adjustment to launch Demand Management efforts this year. MDOT also provided a $50,000 grant to continue work in 2011. (see press release: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/ltgovernor/pressreleases/101013.asp).
In addition, in support of the BRAC TDM programs, the Lt. Governor announced $200,000 earlier this year to launch the Guaranteed Ride Home program in the Baltimore region. This eliminates a major barrier to using transit and ridesharing by providing a free ride home in the event of an unexpected personal emergency or unscheduled overtime (see press release: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/ltgovernor/pressreleases/100602.asp).