Road improvements, better bus, rail service expected But $600 million program for Anne Arundel County still falls short, state says

October 12, 1990|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff writer

Anne Arundel residents can expect $600 million worth of improvements to state roads during the next six years and better bus and rail service offering alternatives to congested roadways.

But life for commuters still could be a lot better, state highway officials say.

A six-year, $4.4 billion statewide transportation program falls $3.6 billion short of what's needed for projects officials have deemed essential to the state's system, Maryland Department of Transportation officials said yesterday. Officials stopped in Arundel as part of an annual tour of the counties.

Included in the county program is a widened U.S. 50, a widened Route 3, a new interchange at the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32 and a new interchange at Route 2 and West Street in Annapolis.

A project to connect Interstate 97 and Route 178 will be complete by the middle of next year and another, to finish the last link of Route 32 from Route 175 to Route 3, is close to completion, said Hal Kassoff, state highway administrator.

Officials reported that:

* The State Rail Administration has added 125 parking spaces to the Odenton MARC station and will buy more land for parking. The SRA also will finish expanding parking lots at the Bowie station in about a month, said Administrator Richard Keen.

Public hearings will be scheduled for later this fall to choose a location for the proposed commuter rail spur from Dorsey Road to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, which is now in the planning stage, said Richard Trainor, state secretary of transportation.

* The MTA is preparing to add a 12th county bus route, from Crofton to the New Carrollton Metro station, said Administrator Ronald Hartman. He said the MTA will hire a contractor later this year to start building a Park 'n' Ride lot at Dorsey Road, where commuters could get express bus service to Baltimore.

* The Motor Vehicle Administration plans a $16 million project to reconstruct and renovate its Glen Burnie headquarters, which now serves 5,000 customers a day. It will be finished by 1993, said Marshall Wrickert, MVA administrator.

To satisfy the state's transportation needs during the next six years, the state would need to spend $8 billion, but federal aid and state money for transportation construction has been declining, said Steve Zentz, deputy secretary of transportation. Under the current program, commuting times will increase by 30 percent, officials said.

The $3.6 billion shortfall includes $1.7 billion the Maryland Statewide Commuter Assistance Study recommended that the state spend. It suggested building new light-rail lines or some other form of mass transit in at least nine locations over the next 20 years.

That study rejected proposals to extend light rail lines along county corridors from Glen Burnie into Annapolis, but recommended extending the Baltimore to Dorsey Road line to downtown Glen Burnie at a cost of $10 million.

The state still may consider using either high occupancy lanes along Ritchie Highway, said Stephen L. Reich, assistant director of the Office of Transportation Planning.

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