Tuesday, February 08, 2011

An Impending Traffic Tsunami

The wave of new jobs coming into Fort Meade as a result of BRAC is a double edged sword. While the expansion of the mission at the fort is a an economic boon for the area it also threatens to overwhelm an already overburdened transportation network. According to this story by Ashley Halsey III in The Washington Post, “about $786 million in highway projects is needed to accommodate workers arriving at Fort Meade by September and the adjacent National Security Agency.”

Given a projected budget deficit of $1.3 billion, the state doesn’t exactly have a spare $800 million lying around. Maryland, along with Virginia, is looking to the Pentagon for an assist.

The article cites a congressionally mandated report by the National Academy of Sciences that found that the Department of Defense has “shirked responsibility to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation improvements…”

“Predicting a "near perfect storm of problems," the report chastises the Pentagon for focusing primarily on problems within its bases without sufficient regard for the effects of decisions on surrounding areas.”

This report could cause some workers who are being relocated from jobs in Northern Virginia to Fort Meade to rethink their commuting plans and consider moving to Maryland instead.
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