Harford County’s director of planning and zoning, Pete Gutwald, presented the county’s annual priorities for transportation projects to a group of regional business leaders Wednesday at the University Center of Northeastern Maryland in Aberdeen.
Improving nine intersections, adding thruways and overall widening of the Maryland Route 22 corridor are the county’s primary priorities for transportation projects, according to Gutwald, who spoke to the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Harford County Business Advisory Council.
“We wanted to look at low-hanging fruit and set priorities that we thought we could get funded,” Gutwald said.
Other transportation projects Gutwald said he hopes to be accomplished in the near future include a proposed HOV lane near the Aberdeen proving ground that will provide a dedicated thru lane for travelers to bypass the traffic congestion and streetscaping along Edgewood Road.
Another 2014 priority is U.S. Route 1, which has been a “priority” since the early 1990s, according to Gutwald and GBC President and CEO Don Fry. The project has gotten environmental approval and progressed through rounds of funding.
Gutwald reported on the completion of improvements to the Edgewood Train Station with the help of $5.1 million from federal funding. The Aberdeen Train Station will most likely be a future project, and will move along more quickly with federal funding, according to Gutwald.
When the question of how federal and state transportation funds were distributed, Gutwald conceded that there isn’t a formal strategy for dispensing funding so projects get a “fair share of highway money.”
The GBC’s Transportation and Mobility Committee‘s primary focus is developing a long-term strategic plan for identifying transportation priorities. The committee is led by Bob Hellauer, GBC director of regional transportation and federal government affairs, and will have its first meeting of the year Thursday, Feb. 27.
“We want to look at a less political way of identifying transportation priorities,” Fry said. “We’re trying to stimulate conversation.”