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Hughesville bypass is just as important as ICC

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on February 18, 2004:

Senator Dyson To say I was a little disappointed that Governor Ehrlich took a full entourage of legislators and staff to tour potential sites for the proposed Inter-county connector on January 6 would be, to say the least, a major understatement. In fact, I was extremely disappointed.

On October 27, 2003, I received a courtesy copy letter from the president and chief of the Hughesville Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. expressing their exasperation over the perils of the Route 5 and Route 231 intersection. That letter, written to the Maryland State Highway administrator and other public officials, including myself and the governor, invited us to “visit our station at any time during a work day’s rush hour and we will provide an example of what we watch and experience everyday.”

Five days later, I wrote to Governor Ehrlich asking him to “join me [and representatives of the Hughesville VFD] at your earliest convenience so we could observe a peak morning or afternoon rush hour so they can show us first-hand what it is like to deal with this hazard.”

I have yet to receive a response to my letter written three and a half months ago.

On December 3, 2003, I received another courtesy copy letter, this time from the Board of Fire and Rescue Commissioners for Charles County to Governor Ehrlich, acknowledging their receipt of the Oct. 27 correspondence from the Hughesville VFD. In their letter, they expressed to the governor their frustration that “this board is deeply concerned that the Hughesville area and in particular the [Hughesville VFD] is not being given an appropriate amount of attention by your administration.”

That’s why I was so disheartened to see the well-orchestrated media show covered extensively by the Washington Post on the front page of its Jan. 7 edition of the Metro Section showing the governor taking a tour of the inter-county connector site. I had heard a day in advance that Governor Ehrlich had alerted the media and several other prominent figures in Montgomery and Prince George’s County that he was going to be making this trek.

It is my fear that the governor is playing politics with the inter-county connector while refusing to even acknowledge the Hughesville bypass. He has in fact called the inter-county connector his number one priority. I find this curious since Southern Maryland came out so heavily for Governor Ehrlich in the last election while Montgomery County came out equally or more so heavily for his Democratic challenger. You’d think your “number one” transportation priority would be in a place where people showed the most support for you. Not so.

We are told the Hughesville bypass is “important” over and over again to appease us then never hear anything else about it again.

It sure is. In its letter to the SHA administrator, the Hughesville VFD wrote: “Our department leaves this station over 3,500 times a year in an emergency response mode and the gamble of commuter safety is something we want the State of Maryland to bear.”

They are right on target. Commuter safety shouldn’t be a “gamble.” It should be an assurance from the state. I have “implored” Governor Ehrlich and Secretary of Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan to “take a strong leadership position” regarding the Hughesville bypass.

Instead, letters sent to the Governor by me, the Hughesville VFD and the Board of Fire and Rescue Commissioners for Charles County go unanswered and unacknowledged while Governor Ehrlich and others trudge through the mud in Montgomery County -- the wealthiest and most politically powerful county in Maryland.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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