WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act includes funding for key Maryland transportation projects and fulfills her promise to help communities manage growth related to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission’s recommendations.
A BRAC-READY MARYLAND
Senator Mikulski, chair of the Maryland congressional delegation, has fought for several years to prepare Maryland communities and military bases for the BRAC process, which will bring thousands of new employees to the state. This includes 10,000 new U.S. jobs, in addition to 85,000 existing jobs on bases and up to 40,000 non-direct jobs.
“My promises made to BRAC-impacted communities are promises kept. BRAC brings great opportunities, but it also brings great challenges. That’s why I want to make sure Maryland has what it needs in the federal checkbook to implement the BRAC recommendations and meet the increased demands on our communities,” said Senator Mikulski. “More money for Maryland highways and public transit systems means safer and faster commutes to work. This funding will help BRAC-ready our transportation systems to keep Marylanders on the move.”
The Omnibus bill includes:
– $34.7 million for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to purchase new rail cars. This is the third and final payment for a total of 52 new rail cars, which will boost ridership capacity by one-third and relieve Metro overcrowding.
– $13 million for Maryland’s MARC Commuter Rail System to fund ready-to-go construction at existing and new MARC stations and to buy new rail cars. Current ridership exceeds 30,000 daily trips and is expected to grow to 36,000 within five years. MARC is energy efficient and a low greenhouse gas emitting form of transportation.
– $3 million to improve access to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda to make intersection improvements to already heavily congested Rockville Pike.
– $3 million to improve access to Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County and relieve future BRAC-related traffic congestion.
– $3 million to improve access to Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Harford County by making intersection improvements along the highways leading to the installation.
STATE TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES
– $2 million for statewide locally operated transit systems to buy buses and improve bus maintenance facilities. Every county in Maryland is eligible for these funds as well as Annapolis and Ocean City. Buses reduce the number of cars on the road to ease congestion and get Marylanders to work, the doctor and senior centers.
– $712,500 to continuing examining ways to upgrade and widen U.S. 301 through the Waldorf area in both Charles and Prince George’s Counties.
U.S. 301 is a primary highway that experiences congestion due to intense commercial development and high volumes of commuter traffic.
– $237,500 to continue upgrading U.S. 113 to a four lane highway to improve safety and operations in Worcester County. Traffic volumes on U.S. 113 continue to increase because of seasonal traffic volumes and commercial and residential development.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act today. Senate action is expected to follow next week.