Monday, September 15, 2008

Traffic Projects Put On Hold

We don't know about you, but our commute this morning was ugly. Where did all the cars come from? We were hoping maybe the high price of gas was keeping people away but maybe that was just wishful thinking.

So it was disappointing to see this story in the Sun: State officials last week announced that they are pulling back on some transportation project to account for drops in state revenues related to high gas prices and a slowing economy.

Don't we need some infrastructure stimulus?

The largest share of the cuts will be absorbed by the State Highway Administration, with almost $530 million in projects deferred. Among the larger Baltimore-area road projects to see delays are the addition of a northbound lane on U.S. 29 and a planned widening of Route 32 in Howard County. Also delayed are projects to improve intersections affected by the Pentagon's base realignment and closing process near Fort Meade, Aberdeen and Bethesda.

In the mass transit arena, the biggest share of $437 million in deferred projects involves the MARC system, where the O'Malley administration has been pursuing an ambitious expansion plan. The delayed MARC projects include Penn Line track improvements and the purchase of some additional coaches. The recent acquisition of 13 coaches and the expected delivery of 26 new locomotives early next year are still on schedule.

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