We want your opinions

July 16, 2006

ISSUE: The Pentagon's military base realignment will swell Maryland's population by roughly 28,000 households over the next decade, a Towson University report predicts, in what some economists suggest will be the biggest defense-related buildup in the Baltimore-Washington region since World War II.

In a draft report prepared for the state Department of Business and Economic Development, Towson's research and consulting arm, RESI, forecasts that the base shuffling ordered last year could yield more than 45,000 jobs for the state, many of them high-paying civilian military and defense contractor positions moving to Aberdeen Proving Ground and to Fort Meade.

Analysts estimate that Anne Arundel County will net 12,639 jobs and 5,798 households, along with nearly $90 million in yearly tax revenue, because of military shifts. Most of the jobs are expected to arrive within the next five years.

County Executive Janet S. Owens believes Anne Arundel is ahead of the curve in preparing for the growth, having directed millions toward expanding Route 175 and Route 198 and improving the MARC commuter rail service. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has also allocated $1 million for a study to expand Washington's Metrorail to Anne Arundel.

YOUR VIEW: Do you believe the county is taking the necessary steps to prepare for the wave of defense workers to hit Anne Arundel County? Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your responses short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published Sunday.

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