National Security Agency officials denied yesterday state claims that they are responsible for half the cost of a $60 million upgrade of a section of Route 32.
State officials had said the NSA should payfor half the project, since it would be gaining a free access road off Route 32. But a NSA spokeswoman, noting the access road would be only a byproduct of construction and adds no cost to the project, saidthe agency had no intention of footing half the bill.
"It is a very confusing issue," NSA spokeswoman JoAnna Nalpant said. "There is a lot of confusion about that road."
The state is inthe middle of a $200 million upgrade of Route 32, linking U.S. 29 inHoward County to Route 3 and Interstate 97. Much of the widening is expected to be completed by fall 1992.
Parts of the project, however, still lack funding. One is Savage Road, a 1.5-mile stretch of Route 32 between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 198, which borders the NSA.
The state plans on rebuilding Route 32 south of Savage Road. That would leave what is now Savage Road as an access roadinto NSA.
In July, state officials said the 1.5-mile upgrade would cost $60 million and said NSA should pay for half because of the interchange, which would funnel NSA commuters away from the expanded Route 32.
The NSA's Nalpant said this upgrade differs from the intersection at Route 32 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, which originally was constructed with Defense Department money. Unlike the earlier project, the federal government does not consider the Route 32 upgrade part of a "military installation," Nalpant said.
"The state has access to other federal funds," Nalpant said. "We just can't get Defense Department funding for this project."
NSA officials have asked the county's State House delegation to settle the issue and make the improvements to Route 32, citing the increasing number of automobile accidents in front of their complex.