An effort is underway by a state legislator to temporarily halt plans to build a collection of high-end outlet stores just outside the Beltway in Prince George’s County.
Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s) said Wednesday that a roadway near National Harbor, where the stores will be built, will not be able to handle increased traffic.
“It will be absolute gridlock,” Muse said of Indian Head Highway.
Muse said state and county officials need to address the project’s transportation needs before allowing it to move forward.
“If they are going to put the development there, they need to put the roads there,” Muse said. “We want the stores, and, of course, we want the jobs. But if you are sitting in traffic for two hours, who does that help?”
The Peterson Cos., the developer of National Harbor, announced last month that it had signed a deal with Tanger Factory Outlet Centers to bring about 80 stores to the county. The shopping center will be the latest addition to National Harbor, the still-expanding $4 billion complex of condominiums, stores, restaurants and hotels lining the Potomac River near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
Muse said he sent letters about two weeks ago to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) expressing his concerns. He said he had not received a response from either.
Scott Peterson, a spokesman for Baker, said they had received the letter and plan to address the senator’s concerns. Takirra Winfield, a spokeswoman for O’Malley, could not be reached for comment.
Update: Tarikka Winfield, a spokeswoman for O’Malley, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. But on Thursday, she said the state highway adminstration is working with the senator to address his concerns. “He raises a valid point,” she said.
Andre Gingles, an attorney for the Peterson Cos., said he was unaware of Muse’s concerns.
“We will chat with the senator so that he knows that all the appropriate transportation issues will be addressed as we move forward,” Gingles said.
The Peterson Cos. hopes to open the outlet stores in 2013.