The Corps must review construction projects which are expected to have an impact on surrounding wetlands and waterways.

"That's where we're regulating any fill material that that goes in the waters of the United States, fill material that is placed or discharged into the waters of the United States, and that includes wetlands," Joseph DaVia, chief of Maryland Section Northern in the Corps' Baltimore District, said during a recent interview.

The Corps of Engineers released a public notice earlier this year, seeking public comment on the Section 200 project. The public comment period began Feb. 8 and ended Monday.

Chris Augsburger, spokesman for the Baltimore District, said Thursday that Corps officials would send the public comments to the MdTA. The agency then has the opportunity to respond, and the Corps would decide whether to issue a permit based on information provided by the applicant.

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Community concerns

During a March 4 meeting, members of the Joppa-Joppatowne Community Council expressed concerns about the I-95 project gearing back up after they had not heard any news about it for several years.

They were worried about the impact on the environment, their communities and property owned by Trinity Lutheran Church, which is just north of the Route 152/I-95 interchange and is home to one of the county's largest congregations.

In an interview the day after the meeting, Augsburger and DaVia told The Aegis the MdTA had applied for the permit and provided a copy of the public notice.

Church officials reported to the Joppa-Joppatowne council they had been approached by the MdTA about purchasing some of their property for the park and ride.

Sales said Thursday the agency had talked with church leaders in 2005, but negotiations "fell through."

"We're not going to be pursuing that Trinity Church property for the park and ride," he said.

Sales said the Section 200 project is low on the MdTA's priority list, behind projects such as completing Section 100, replacing the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge in Charles County, taking over operation of the Inter-County Connector in Prince George's and Montgomery counties, cleaning and painting the westbound span of the Bay Bridge and ongoing system preservation projects.

"It's projects like that, we're certainly looking to move forward with, and again, all that funding does come from toll revenue," he said.