Md. to Cut Funding Of Roads, Transit; Revenue Drop Hits Several Projects In D.C. Suburbs.
Post, 11 Sep 2008 (Wagner & Shaver).
As part of an effort to pare $1.1 billion in transportation spending, Maryland officials announced cuts yesterday to several Washington area projects intended to curb congestion and accommodate military growth, as well as to planning funds for possible light rail lines.
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About $25 million was deleted for engineering work for the Purple Line, a proposed light rail or rapid-bus link between Bethesda and New Carrollton.
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Other Washington area casualties included almost $60 million for a second round of road improvements aimed at reducing congestion around the Branch Avenue Metro station in Prince George's County.
The region's largest transportation project, the $2.4 billion intercounty connector, was not affected by yesterday's announcement because of a separate financing arrangement that largely insulates the planned 18.8-mile toll road from fluctuations in the state's transportation trust fund.
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Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) was "very disappointed" with the decreases, said spokesman John Erzen. Erzen said that five of the county's top road projects lost substantial funding and that the impact of the state cuts was greater in Prince George's than in Montgomery.
"We're certainly concerned about that disparity," he said.
Prince George's County Council member Tony Knotts (D-Temple Hills) said the reduction to road improvements around the Branch Avenue Metro stop would discourage commuters from using the system. "They won't see an advantage if they're sitting in traffic indefinitely trying to get there," said Knotts, whose district borders the area.
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