Chertoff, Area Officials Discuss Plans

By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff met yesterday with the governors of Virginia and Maryland and the D.C. mayor as officials try to finalize plans for what could be record crowds at next month's historic presidential inauguration.

Robert P. Crouch Jr., homeland security adviser to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.), said officials are wrestling with decisions on the inauguration transportation plan, which is likely to be released in the next 10 days or so.

"There still are some open questions about what will be sent where," he said, referring to cars and buses. He declined to provide specifics.

After New Year's Day, officials said, they expect to start "a lot of messaging to the public" to inform motorists of the limit on cars at the event, and bus drivers that they must obtain permits, Crouch said.

"That's part of where the major focus will turn, so that people don't spend hours if not days on the interstate and get to the Beltway and find their expectations can't be met," he said.

D.C. officials have said 2 million or more people could attend the inauguration of Barack Obama, which would surpass the record 1.2 million who went to Lyndon B. Johnson's 1965 swearing-in.

Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), said that the expected throngs "will obviously affect the surrounding area" and that Maryland officials wanted to ensure that there were appropriate plans for them.

Yesterday's session at Secret Service headquarters was the first time top officials from Homeland Security, the District and surrounding states had met to study inauguration plans, officials said.

The meeting also drew participants from numerous state, federal and local agencies, including the Secret Service, FBI, Park Police, Capitol Police, D.C. police and Metro.

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