Brown, delegation discuss base plan

Growth needs in military expansion are meeting focus

March 01, 2007|By Matthew Hay Brown | Matthew Hay Brown,Sun Reporter

WASHINGTON -- Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown met with Maryland's congressional delegation yesterday to discuss transportation, education and other needs in light of planned military base expansions in the state.

"Those of us who came from local government know that before you move forward, you must have a plan," Democratic Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger said after the closed-door meeting. "We want to make sure that whatever we do, we do not negatively impact on the existing residential communities."

Expansion at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County, Fort Meade in Anne Arundel and other military installations is expected to bring 40,000 to 60,000 new jobs to Maryland over the next five years. While officials see an economic boon for the state, they are concerned about the impact that growth will have on roads, schools and sewer systems.

Brown, tapped by Gov. Martin O'Malley to head a "sub-Cabinet" to coordinate planning for the Base Realignment and Closure process, brought acting Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari to the Capitol meeting.

"Everyone is generally excited about opportunities in Maryland that are available and coming with BRAC," Brown said. "We're also mindful of the tremendous responsibility that we have not only, one, to play our role in securing the national defense with these jobs, but also the responsibility to preserve and protect the quality of life in Maryland."

Ruppersberger said the delegation spoke generally about expanding rail and educational space. Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski characterized the meeting as "a preliminary conversation on infrastructure needs."

"What the delegation laid out is what we have been hearing from the county executives," she said. "We wanted to be clear that we all had the same lists."

Mikulski said she would not detail the projects that might be eligible for federal funding, or how much money might be available, until she had heard O'Malley's priorities. But she promoted legislation already passed that would bring the state $900 million for mass transit over five years.matthew.brown@baltsun.com

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