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Secretary Slater Announces Innovative Financing Project to Speed Completion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

Secretary Slater Announces Innovative Financing Project to Speed Completion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway

Federal Highway Administration
October 21, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 21, 1998
Contact: Virginia Miller
Tel.: (202) 366-0660
FHWA 49-98

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater today announced an innovative financing project designed to reduce construction time on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway by four years and save more than $2 million in construction costs.

Slater was joined in making the announcement by members of the Maryland congressional delegation and state officials.

"Vice President Gore has challenged us to make government work smarter and better, and today’s announcement is about common sense government working for the people of Maryland," said Secretary Slater. "By cutting construction time and cutting costs, we are working to keep the Baltimore-Washington Parkway a safe place to drive, while preserving the aesthetic scenery that presents such a grand entrance to our nation’s capital."

The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the landmark surface transportation legislation signed by President Clinton on June 9, provides $11.25 million in high priority project funding for this project. TEA-21 spreads this funding over a six year period which would require the project to be constructed in six stages. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Park Service (NPS) have jointly developed an innovative method of financing to allow this interchange, a $27 million project, to be constructed as one project reducing construction time by four years and cutting construction costs by $2 million.

The Baltimore-Washington Parkway has been under reconstruction since the late 1970's. FHWA has been working closely with the NPS, which owns and manages the parkway, and the Maryland Department of Transportation to advance construction of the parkway. The only remaining portion requiring reconstruction is the Route 197 Interchange, which is scheduled to begin in early 1999. This Route 197 Interchange project will complete the 20-year Baltimore-Washington Parkway construction.

Slater also noted that special precautions are being incorporated in this project to further reduce traffic delays during construction. Traffic will be routed on a separate detour road to allow the parkway mainline bridges to be removed and reconstructed. Also, contractor access to the project will be restricted to Route 197.

The Baltimore-Washington Parkway, originally designed to connect federal employees to the area’s four federal centers, Fort Meade, the National Security Agency, the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, was opened in 1954 and carried 20,000 motorists a day. Today, the Parkway carries more than 80,000 motorists daily and connects Maryland commuters to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, to both the MTA and MARC commuter rail lines and to the Washington and Baltimore suburbs.

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