www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/bs-md-co-transportation-priorities-20111027,0,6272673.story

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Balto. Co. asks for help with Martin MARC, Reisterstown Rd.

Top two priorities targeted for economic development

By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

7:56 PM EDT, October 27, 2011

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Moving the Martin State MARC station and improving Reisterstown Road at Painters Mill are Baltimore County's two top transportation priorities, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told state officials Thursday.

In the face of federal, state and local funding shortages, the county whittled down its wish list to those items because of the projects' economic development potential, he said.

"We all know that we are facing difficult times," Kamenetz told Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley, state lawmakers, County Council members and others at the meeting in Towson. "All of us have been forced to make difficult decisions."

County officials meet each year with state transportation leaders to present transportation priorities.

In a recent letter to Swaim-Staley, Kamenetz called the projects "realistic requests."

He cited several reasons for relocating and expanding the Martin MARC station: revitalization of Middle River, expansion of the Aberdeen Proving Ground driven by the Base Realignment and Closure process, development around Route 43 and the potential for a new Middle River Amtrak station.

Moving the MARC station to the east side of Route 43 would let it be included in the redevelopment of the former General Services Administration depot, a 2 million-square-foot facility, he wrote.

The relocation would cost the state between $40 million and $60 million, according to state transportation officials at the meeting.

The county needs to upgrade Reisterstown Road and its intersections sooner than expected because of development in Owings Mills and the future opening of the Owings Mills Metro Center, which will house the county's largest library branch and a community college center, Kamenetz said.

Instead of widening Reisterstown Road, the county has proposed building parallel access roads on both sides, using the east-side terminus of Painters Mill and land next to the Solo Cup Co. property's western edge.

Expanding Reisterstown and Painters Mill roads would cost between $45 million and $50 million, state transportation officials said. They did not know how much it would cost to build the access roads that the county proposed.

Swaim-Staley warned that inadequate state revenues and uncertainty over federal funding mean that there is not enough money for every local government in Maryland to be fully funded for even one priority project.

"We really have to be realistic," she said.

Last year, then-County Executive James T. Smith Jr. submitted a list of 11 priority projects. They included the Dolfield Boulevard/Interstate 795 Interchange; the Route 7/Route 43 Interchange; and the Martin State MARC station.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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