Regional bus facility to be set at Fort Meade

Federal worker influx helps lend impetus

May 03, 2006|By LAURA CADIZ | LAURA CADIZ,SUN REPORTER

As thousands of government jobs are expected to come to Maryland from the nationwide consolidation of military bases, Howard and Anne Arundel county leaders announced yesterday an agreement with Fort Meade to set up a regional bus facility on the base in the next four to five years.

Howard Transit, Connect-A-Ride and Western Anne Arundel County buses as well as transit management services are proposed to be housed in the facility, which would also be a transfer point for routes serving Fort Meade and Odenton.

The proposed facility is expected to cost $18.5 million, with most of the funding coming from federal grants, as well as additional money coming from the Maryland Department of Transportation and Howard and Anne Arundel counties, according to a statement by Howard County.

Howard County transportation planner Carl Balser said that by teaming up with Anne Arundel, the counties will be able to create a "state of the art" facility that will be more efficient and also increase vendor competition.

He said the facility has been in the works for about five years and would be necessary even without the additional jobs that are expected to come to the area through the Pentagon's base realignment and closure process.

The process, known as BRAC, is expected to bring a total of 11,400 government jobs to Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground. About 5,000 of those jobs are slated to be at Fort Meade by 2010, according to the base.

"I think that BRAC has been an excellent catalyst to move it to the next step," Balser said. "We're all bracing for the influx of new jobs and additional housing demands."

laura.cadiz@baltsun.com

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