Extra transit funds slated

Governor proposes $1.5 billion increase over next six years

January 13, 2001|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening is proposing to add $1.5 billion to Maryland's transportation budget over the next six years for projects ranging from new buses and sidewalks to an added lane on a stretch of the Baltimore Beltway.

Robust revenue collections will allow the state to spend more than $9.4 billion in the six-year period, the governor said yesterday in announcing his transportation spending plan.

Of the $1.5 billion in new spending, about half is earmarked for projects at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, including additional parking spaces, more passenger gates, moving sidewalks and a new car-rental facility.

Another $366 million would go for highway projects and $319 million for mass transit improvements, a roughly equal distribution. "That's a balance that's long overdue," Glendening said. "That's as it should be."

Glendening's proposals will be included in the state budget that he submits to the General Assembly next week.

Among the new projects he said will be funded are a $3.6 million study of possible new subway and mass transit lines in the Baltimore region. Glendening had previously announced other mass transit initiatives, including money for hundreds of new buses and Sunday subway service in Baltimore.

He said yesterday that the state would provide funding for several additional projects in the Baltimore area, among them:

An additional lane on the outer loop of the Beltway, between Interstate 95 and Route 144, at a cost of $17.1 million for the 2.9-mile stretch.

Streetscape improvements on York Road, from Northern Parkway to Stevenson Lane, $4.4 million. The project, slated to begin this year, would include resurfacing the roadway and improving sidewalks, curbs and drainage.

A parking deck at the Cold Spring Lane light rail station in North Baltimore, $7 million. The deck, situated on a wooded lot west of the station, would create 325 spaces for rail users.

Parking spaces at the Halethorpe train station, $5.7 million. The project would add 414 spaces for commuters, for a total of 763.

Parking garage and other improvements at the Owings Mills Metro station, $14.4 million.

Improvements to Scaggsville Road, between I-95 and U.S. 29 in Howard County, $24.2 million. The new roadway would replace a curve-filled 2.6-mile stretch.

Improvements along Main streets in Westminster and Manchester in Carroll County, $2.2 million.

Sidewalk improvements along state roads, $23 million.

Glendening said the budget includes no projects that would encourage suburban sprawl.

The majority of transportation projects are financed by the state's transportation trust fund, which is built largely on gasoline tax collections and vehicle titling fees that have been producing more revenue than expected.

But with the state enjoying budget surpluses the last few years, Glendening has broken precedent and earmarked hundreds of millions in general state revenues for projects such as an expansion of the Washington subway system and the replacement of the Woodrow Wilson bridge.

Hearings

The Sun is again offering a free fax broadcast of schedules for Maryland General Assembly committee hearings. To use this service, you must have a fax machine that can answer automatically.

To sign up for the service, call SunDial at 410-783-1800 and enter code 7575.

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