Strengthening the Baltimore region’s transportation resources and coordinating workforce training are among the top priorities cited by economic development officials from the region who met August 7 at the Greater Baltimore Committee to discuss the impact of federal base realignment and closure (BRAC).
The meeting was convened by GBC President Donald C. Fry to determine ways that the GBC could help the Baltimore region prepare for the BRAC-related influx of jobs and population growth expected during the next decade.
Participants in the meeting included economic development officials from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties. Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens and Clarence Bishop, Chief of Staff for Baltimore City Mayor Martin O’Malley, also attended.
BRAC decisions to move a combined 15,000 federal jobs to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County and to Ft. Meade in Anne Arundel County will ultimately generate more than 45,000 new jobs in Maryland by 2015 – more than 35,000 of which will be created in the Baltimore region, experts estimate.
“With the magnitude of growth we are facing, there are plenty of public policy issues, including transportation and workforce development, that the GBC is well-positioned to work on,” said Fry after the meeting. “We need to nurture public-private strategic teamwork on BRAC that does more than just makes room for growth. We need to enhance our region’s business climate and quality of life in the process.”
Transportation issues cited by BRAC planners include strengthening mass transit in the region as well as providing adequate highway access.
There is also a need to “ratchet up” the awareness and understanding of BRAC issues among lawmakers at the state and federal levels, the region’s county officials noted.
“It’s particularly important that state lawmakers be fully aware of the financing and infrastructure needs that will generated by BRAC,” said Fry. “This must be a high priority as a newly elected General Assembly convenes its 2007 session.”
Baltimore Sun coverage of BRAC issues