Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz
Baltimore County Priorities for State Transportation Funding
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Secretary Mobley, it is an honor to welcome you and your staff from the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to Baltimore County. It is also an honor to welcome the many distinguished elected officials who have joined us here today.
State and local governments continue to face very difficult fiscal challenges, and we fully expect those challenges for the next several years – without even taking into consideration the looming federal government mandatory cuts.
Yet, not withstanding such a difficult economic landscape, local and state government must continue to rebuild our aging infrastructure, making a commitment to our communities to protect their quality of life.
I want to thank the Chairs of our Baltimore County's Senate and House Delegation, Chairwoman Kathy Klausmeier and Chairman John Olszewski Jr. for their leadership and support of the County's 2012 transportation priorities.
Last year, we made a strategic decision to reduce Baltimore County's requests to several important priorities. It simply made no sense to provide a laundry list of hopeful projects that had no realistic chance of being funded. Rather, we decided to present a pragmatic approach by highlighting a few projects that would have an immediate impact on the economy of Baltimore County, and that could realistically be funded. Today, we continue with that same approach.
Our Priorities Remain:
1. The Martin MARC Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in Middle River.
In light of the ongoing revitalization of the Middle River area, the BRAC-driven expansion of Aberdeen Proving Ground, the steady pace of new development surrounding MD 43, and the inclusion by Amtrak of a potential new Middle River station in its master plan, we feel that a relocated and expanded Martin MARC Station has great potential. Relocation of the station to the east side of MD 43 would allow the station to complement redevelopment of the 2-million-square-foot GSA Depot facility as a mixed-use, transit-oriented development to provide a vibrant mix of uses. We are very pleased that MDOT recognized this future promise by undertaking the recently completed Martin State MARC Station Relocation Feasibility and TOD Study. This Study provides a strong factual basis for future TOD planning at a relocated Martin MARC Station. In addition, during the recently concluded Baltimore County 2012 Comprehensive Zoning Map Process, the Depot site was rezoned for additional business-retail uses, bolstering our efforts for a successful TOD project.
2. Reisterstown Road (MD 140) Traffic Improvements.
As we have mentioned in the past, the pace of development in Owings Mills (as evidenced by the existing intersection at Reisterstown and Painters Mill Roads) and the new transit-oriented development (TOD) slated for the Metro Center site will require upgrades to Reisterstown Road and its associated intersections sooner than expected. In addition, business-retail zoning was recently approved for the former Solo Cup site during Baltimore County's 2012 Comprehensive Rezoning Map Process. A State Highway Administration Study of the Project Management Division conducted this past year found significant congestion along this corridor. This congestion is expected to increase given the potential development in years to come. This issue needs to be addressed. I particularly endorse short term improvement recommendations as delineated in the Study for the following locations:
- Location A: MD 140 at Hooks Lane, which would add a left-turn lane in Hooks Lane at MD 140 in the westbound direction;
- Location B: MD 140 at McDonogh Road, providing for additional turn lanes;
- Location D: MD 140 from Garrison View Road to Owings Mills Boulevard Ramp, particularly endorsing service roads from St. Thomas Lane through Painters Mill Road to Rosewood Lane. It should be noted that the block from Painters Mill Road north to Rosewood Lane is currently subject to a major development plan by a single owner, who is supportive of the service road proposal.
We also encourage other recommendations to improve the west side of Painters Mill Road at the MD 140 intersection, with great urgency in view of the soon-to-be completed Metro Center TOD as well as the recently rezoned Solo Cup Project.
3. Finally, we continue to have a very real need to address interstate highways in Baltimore County.
In general, continued improvements to Interstates 695 and 83 remain a critical need.
In addition, I think it is also important to point out that just a few years ago Baltimore County used to receive approximately $40 million in Highway User Funds from the State. These were the funds the County used to resurface and repair our roadways. Baltimore County currently receives $3.4 million. With such a significant reduction, maintaining County roadways is indeed a challenge.
Once again, I want to thank Secretary Mobley for his commitment to Baltimore County. It is more important than ever that we continue working together to improve the quality of life in Baltimore County and across the State of Maryland. Thank you very much.