Federal Stimulus Money Earmarked for Md. Transportation
Gov. Martin O'Malley announced today that his state would use its first wave of federal stimulus money to jumpstart $365 million in transportation, from road resurfacing to bridge maintenance.
Work on some projects will start within 30 days, he said.
The governor cautioned that that projects aren't eye-catching investments that will warrant big ribbon-cuttings. "There is not a Golden Gate Bridge or Bay Bridge among them," O'Malley said at a meeting of the Board of Public Works, which voted to approve close to $3 million to renovate the MARC station in Laurel.. "But they are needed throughout the state."
Maryland will receive a total of $610 million in new federal money for road and transit projects, and a second phase will be announced in coming weeks.
The money will put a dent in a $1 billion backlog of projects to preserve the system that transportation officials were forced by budget cuts to defer.
"The sprint started this morning," Transportation Secretary John Porcari said, describing the projects as "dozens of little next-day projects that will maximize jobs for Maryland companies."
The administration estimates that the federal money will create 17,500 transportation jobs,about 10,000 from the first wave of spending.
The projects include: $223 million for highway projects, $146 million of it for resurfacing and $142 million for transit projects. Of that $65 million will pay for 100 hybrid buses and equipment.
The plan also includes millions of dollars to build safety guardrails on highways and bring new sidewalks into Montgomery and Prince George's counties into compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Ten bridges in Prince George's County will be cleaned and painted.
The governor said transportation officials have been meeting with contractors "to let them know that work is on the way."
"Many of them are holding on by their fingernails and just feeling like they're living day to day postponing tough decisions about laying people off," he said. Some of the projects were bid, but contractors were told the state would have to hold off. Others will be competitively bid in coming weeks, officials said
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Christopher Dean Hopkins
February 18, 2009; 12:20 PM ET
Categories: Lisa Rein
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