Mega-Project Gets Miniaturized

Dwindling tax revenues force fiscal restraint in Maryland, where planners are shifting money from highway expansion to infrastructure maintenance.

Okay, at $900 million dollars, it's still a mega-project. But there will be fewer on-ramps into express toll lanes planned for Interstate 95 north of Baltimore, a major choke point in the mid-Atlantic corridor. The Maryland Department of Transportation will reallocate $400 million to fix tunnels, roads and bridges.

State Delegate Tawanna P. Gaines, chairman of the Maryland transportation budget subcommittee told the Baltimore Sun's Michael Dresser he supports the shift from expansion to preservation of existing infrastructure. "When that [Interstate 35W] bridge fell in Minnesota [in 2007] it made us all very aware of what could happen if we don't have system preservation."

But expansion continues elsewhere, including a brand new toll road to connect Washington D.C. with Maryland suburbs to the west. The growing debt burden means drivers will see toll increases on I-95 in the coming years.

Full Story: http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/commuting/bal-md.highway08mar08,0,5631842.s...

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