On the radio on August 25th , BOCC President Jan Gardner reported that she and State Transportation Secretary John Porcari had discussed making and maintaining a state-wide list of transportation projects that need funding. The list would allow everyone to know the order in which projects would be funded and to monitor when projects would come on line to be done. Once the top listed priority is completed, the following items on the list would all move up a notch. The list would also help insure that projects from the less-populated areas of the state, such as Frederick County, are not ignored, neglected or bumped by later-conceived projects in the more densely populated parts of the state. Such a list would be great for Frederick County.
At the top of this list for Frederick County should be the project to unclog the I-270, I-70 & US15 corridor. Much of this project is encompassed in the “I-270/US 15 Multi-Modal Corridor Study” that has received nominal planning funding through the years. (The building the North/South Parallel Road should also become a part of this project.) The scope and expense of this project is so vast (over $2 billion) that for years it has been put-off or dismissed, except for some small break-out projects and for some preliminary planning. Meanwhile the problem has continually worsened each year. Massive federal funds will be required to fix this problem, but the project must nevertheless be directed by the State. The time has come to stop the put-off and to put the project front and center. Make this project the top priority on the List. If we have to wait in line for the essential federal funds—so be it. But we need to get in line.
The County and State should combine to lobby our federal officials to secure the federal dollars that will be necessary to solve this “federal” problem that exists in Frederick County. The expansion of services at Ft. Detrick (through BRAC) and the national security needs that exist because of our close proximity to Washington, D. C. are both federal problems. In addition, the growth in employment centers and regional housing along the I-270/US 15 corridor and beyond are putting tremendous loads on the federal roads that go through our county. We need to make the case that the congestion on I-270, I-70 and US 15 is a federal problem and that federal funds are needed need to solve it. This big project should be at the top of the new state list that President Gardner and Secretary Porcari have proposed.