Commission Identifies So. Maryland's Top Transportation Priorities

Final Report Lists Waldorf Bypass, Second Span of Thomas Johnson Bridge, and Expanded Transit Service; Also Outlines Short-Term Strategies To Reduce Congestion

HUGHESVILLE, Md. (July 23, 2008) - The Commission to Study Southern Maryland Transportation Needs on Wednesday announced the release of its final report on southern Maryland's transportation needs. The study identifies key transportation infrastructure investments that the commission believes will satisfy the region's current and future requirements.

The key findings of the report reinforce the top priorities for southern Maryland as: the Waldorf Bypass, a second span for the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge, and expanded mass transit services with emphasis on the accelerated development of high capacity transit service in the MD 5 / U.S. 301 corridor.

"We needed to move the region forward in transportation planning, and it was imperative to take stock of our needs in order to formulate a plan that will meet those needs, both immediate and future," said Commission Chairperson Sally Jameson. "Now we have a snapshot of where we are and a vision for how best to meet those needs. It puts the entire region on the same page for advocating for the safety of our citizens, leading to an improved quality of life and managing available dollars astutely so we can get the greatest outcomes from our efforts."

The commission's report was developed in partnership with the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland and the Maryland Department of Transportation. The 21-member commission was established by State legislation directing that a transportation needs assessment be completed for Southern Maryland. The commission met five times between May 2007 and May 2008.

"The Commission's report is a strategic plan or 'road map' for meeting the transportation needs of Southern Maryland's citizens and for maintaining the competitiveness of our regional economy for the next generation," said Gary V. Hodge, Charles County Commissioner and Chairman of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland. "In the years to come, this report will be a valuable guide for making State and federal investments in our vital highway, mass transit and bridge infrastructure."

The commission will continue to serve until June 30, 2009, so they can review the results of a transit corridor study that is now underway. The Maryland Department of Transportation's Maryland Transit Administration is working on a study that will identify the alignment and right-of-way needed for a future transit line from Waldorf and White Plains to the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station that would be either bus rapid transit or light rail.

A Commission spokesman said the report also will act as a strong step forward in expanding transit and reducing congestion with the second step being to change county land-use plans to preserve transit right-of-way corridors.

"Transportation planning cannot take place in a vacuum," said Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari. "We must work together to ensure our land use and transportation planning are done in concert. It is now crucial that the County land-use plans reflect those priorities, starting with the preservation of key transit corridors for the future."

In addition to identifying the top transit priorities, the Commission also outlined strategies to reduce traffic congestion, including:

-- providing improved transit options with investments in park-and-ride lots, commuter buses, and local transit;

-- establishing a Southern Maryland Traffic Operations Center as a satellite to the Statewide Operation Center based in Hanover;

-- increasing the amount of information available on the web for our transit and highway users about real-time conditions and updates on transit stops and park-and-ride lots;

-- making operational improvements from synchronizing traffic lights to upgrading intersections; and

-- investing in multi-modal trail, bike and pedestrian infrastructure and connectivity where needed.

The complete report titled "Southern Maryland Transportation Needs Assessment" can be downloaded from The Maryland Department of Transportation's website at: .

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