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Study: Pentagon should pay for transportation improvements necessitated by BRAC

Traffic backs up during the morning rush at Route 1 and the Fairfax County Parkway near Fort Belvoir.
Traffic backs up during the morning rush at Route 1 and the Fairfax County Parkway near Fort Belvoir. (Gerald Martineau For)

"In some parts of the country, BRAC may mean a lot of new people," Lacefield said. "But here it's just a revised commute for most people. We may not be getting a lot of new taxpayers."

The Fort Meade area anticipates an influx of residents, but many people being transferred there from jobs in Virginia have said they plan to commute.

"These are good problems to have, and we're very appreciative of the jobs, especially now," said Andy Scott, special assistant to Maryland's secretary of transportation, Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. "But while BRAC may bring new efficiencies for the Department of Defense, it's bringing new expenses for the state."

The $135 million Maryland has spent has been spread across smaller projects, mostly improvements to intersections near Fort Meade and the Bethesda center. But other projects - including new commuter bus service that would have helped reduce the increased number of cars - were scrapped because of a lack of money.

"Probably an additional $300 million needs to be spent just to meet immediate needs," Scott said. "It's a triage approach now, and at this point we're just chipping away on what we can. We're not in a position to make new [funding] commitments for BRAC."

The report says that about $786 million in highway projects is needed to accommodate workers arriving at Fort Meade by September and the adjacent National Security Agency.

"The addition of 22,000 commuters - many relying on the congested interstates, freeways and parkways in the region - suggests that these routes, which already perform poorly in peak periods, will become even more clogged with traffic," the report says.


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