BRAC road and commuter rail projects face delays due to lack of funding

Maryland’s transportation funding shortfall and the state’s continuing inability to generate sufficient transportation revenue for new projects is delaying BRAC-related road improvements and needed expansion of commuter rail service, Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO Donald C. Fry told state lawmakers.

Of 13 roadway improvement projects in the Aberdeen Proving Ground area, none will be completed by 2011, when a major influx of BRAC workers to Maryland is scheduled to begin, Fry told members of the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on BRAC, which met at Cecil College on September 29.

Meanwhile, needed extension of MARC commuter rail service to Newark, Del. to accommodate BRAC commuters is not scheduled for completion until 2015. Efforts to extend MARC southward to Northern Virginia are also lagging, said Fry.

“Without a doubt, the underlying challenge confronting the Maryland Department of Transportation and the justification for delay in needed transportation projects, BRAC and non-BRAC-related, is lack of funding,” Fry told lawmakers.

Improvements to five key intersections near Aberdeen Proving Ground, which would cost a combined $114.5 million, are among projects recently deferred by MDOT officials due to decreases in transportation revenue so far this year, Fry said.

The Greater Baltimore Committee is convening a private-sector task force to study transportation funding in Maryland and recommend ways to fund the state’s transportation infrastructure “through new and alternative sources that are not fundamentally tied to declining revenue,” Fry added.

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