While the county may eventually need to expend funds to properly upgrade Routes 175 and 198 for access into Fort Meade and the National Security Agency, I don't believe they are immediately needed. Most of the personnel being moved to Fort Meade (95 percent) are from Northern Virginia. These individuals are either at the end of their careers or probably wish to remain in that area. This means that most of the individuals will commute to Fort Meade for a number of years before retiring, changing jobs or moving to the area. The development of mass transit options is our first priority in meeting this need. This includes the extension of the Washington Metro system to Laurel, Fort Meade and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. In addition, park-and-ride lots, with shuttle services to Fort Meade and NSA must be developed to lessen traffic on area roads.
Residents in Gambrills and Crofton have called for a development moratorium along Route 3 as state plans for overhauling the nine-mile corridor remain delayed. What would you do as executive to get the decades-long state project off the ground?
I agree that there must be a moratorium on development along the Route 3 corridor until the state transportation plan has been accepted. We will need to work with our state and federal officials to access additional transportation funds for the plan. We should also work with developers, once the transportation plan has been accepted, to provide supplemental funding for planned upgrades. Regardless of the accepted alternative, the project will have to be staged over a number of years before it is fully implemented.
Large-scale development is largely absent in the county's southern tier, which is dominated by farmland. Given regional growth demands, do you believe this area should remain closed to such development?
While most of South County should remain untouched, there is a need for targeted commercial development in that area. Area residents must, for the most part, travel to attain the goods and services they need for their homes and businesses. By working with area residents and the business community, we can identify their needs, target growth and plan for the future.