Sarbanes & Mikulski Announce Approval of Highway and Mass Transit Projects for Southern Maryland - Southern Maryland Headline News

Sarbanes & Mikulski Announce Approval of Highway and Mass Transit Projects for Southern Maryland


Priorities Focus on Increasing Accessibility to Military Installations, Alleviating Bottlenecks, and Enhancing Transportation Network

Senators Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD) and Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) today announced that agreement has been reached on a new six-year transportation bill that provides $2.9 billion in federal highway funds and over $900 million in dedicated mass transit funding for the State of Maryland over the six-year period.

"The agreement announced today in prioritizing highway and mass transit projects helps to ease traffic congestion in rapidly growing Southern Maryland by helping to alleviate bottlenecks and enabling those commuters using Southern Maryland's military bases to get there in a safer and faster manner," said Sarbanes, who served as a negotiator in the Conference Committee that produced this agreement.

"I am proud to have worked with my colleague, Senator Sarbanes, to put almost $40 million in the federal checkbook to keep Southern Maryland on the move," said Senator Mikulski. "Highways and byways in Southern Maryland are stretched and stressed. Improvements to the commuter bus initiative along with critical highway upgrades will improve commute times and provide greater access to our military facilities. These funds are an investment in improving safety and reducing congestion, keeping traffic flowing and our neighborhoods safe."

Included in the multi-year spending bill are the following priority projects:

* $16 million for the construction of a new interchange connecting MD 5, MD 373 and Brandywine Road. The project will also include the construction of one additional lane in each direction between Moore's Road and US 301. This is part of a larger system of projects to upgrade roadway access and the widening of MD 5 to a six lane freeway from US 301 to north of I-95/I-495. (Congressman Hoyer obtained $12 million of the total for the project);

* $11 million for MD 5 Hughesville Bypass. MD 5 is a primary highway linking military bases in Southern Maryland with Washington, DC and this project has become the top priority for the Southern Maryland region. The project will help relieve congestion and improve safety in the Hughesville area. Total project cost is $52 million. Funds will be used to initiate construction of roadway from end of divided highway south of Hughesville to end of divided highway north of Hughesville. (Congressman Hoyer was able to secure $8 million of these funds in the House);

* Through the efforts of the Sarbanes and Mikulski, as well as Congressmen Steny Hoyer and Albert Wynn, a total of $15 million has been earmarked for the construction of an interchange at MD Route 4 and Suitland Parkway. It will also allow for the construction of one general use lane in each direction for 1 mile on MD 4. Project will improve access to Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) and will improve access to military bases in Southern, as well as ease traffic congestion in one of the fastest growing population areas in the State of Maryland. Work is part of the overall upgrade of MD 4, from MD 223 to I-95/I-495 which has been divided into three interchange projects. Total project cost is $77.26 million;

* Upgrade MD 210 from MD 228 to I-495. $6 million for design of improvements to upgrade MD 210 to replace intersections with grade separated interchanges from MD 228 to I-495. MD 210 is a major regional commuting corridor that provides access to the Indian Head Naval Base (US Naval Surface Warfare Center) in Charles County. Project will help reduce congestion and address safety problems in the area particularly high accident locations. (Congressman Hoyer obtained $4 million in the House for this project). Total cost is estimated at $233.8 million; and

* $5 million to support construction of a Branch Avenue Metro Station Access road; flyover ramp from the inner loop of the I-495 Beltway to southbound Route MD 5. Estimated cost of project is $80.4 million. This project will provide a long-term solution to traffic congestion in the vicinity of the Branch Avenue Metro Station. (Congressman Albert Wynn obtained $3.2 million in the House for this project).

MASS TRANSIT:

-- Southern Maryland Commuter Initiative. Provides $12 million for planning and construction of the Southern Maryland Commuter Initiative, a program of improvements in Southern Maryland to relieve congestion by enhancing peak period transit services for commuters. The most heavily utilized and growing commuter bus routes are those serving Southern Maryland. Increased use of commuter bus service has resulted in an acute shortage of parking facilities for commuter bus passengers. Components of the initiative include the construction of six commuter parking lots; acquisition of 10 over-the road coaches per year for the six-year authorization period; and transit only-intersection improvements at key locations along MD 5 from Waldorf to the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station just inside the Capital Beltway; and

-- Provides $25 million to improve bus facilities and replace bus vehicles throughout the State of Maryland, including locally operated, small urban and rural transit systems. Half of Maryland's Mass Transit Administration's fleet has been in operation since 1990 and is in dire need of replacement. All 23 counties in Maryland, as well as the Cities of Annapolis, Ocean City, are eligible to receive fund for locally operated transit systems.

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