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Bus terminal for Annapolis moves closer U.S. provides funds for study to create design for center; 'A pleasant surprise'; Maryland received $2 million in transit project funding


Annapolis has moved one step closer to building its first publicly owned bus terminal in the city.

The Mass Transit Administration received about $2 million in transit funds this week to help pay for statewide projects such as purchasing buses and computer software and hardware, according to Democratic U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes.

Part of those funds, issued by the Federal Transit Administration, will pay for a study that will create a design for a bus terminal and transfer center for the state's capital.

"This is a pleasant surprise," said James Chase, director of the city's Parking and Transportation Department. "We've been talking back and forth with the MTA for quite some time now about funding a study that will eventually lead us to purchasing a transfer site. But we had no idea it was coming this fast."

Annapolis has been the only state capital in the country without a bus station, he said.

Potential sites the city would study for the terminal include Chinquapin Round Road, Rowe Boulevard and the controversial Menke-Phipps site on West Street -- which has been studied by officials for use as a convention center.

"We have thousands of commuters every day leaving the city to work in Washington and Baltimore," said Alderman Carl O. Snowden, an Eastport Democrat. "Annapolis is in desperate need for a bus terminal and station. It could potentially have a positive impact on all our traffic and congestion problems."

Chase said that mass transit riders must stand along West Street or Calvert Street to catch a bus to head to Washington or Baltimore now. The only other option is for commuters to make many transfers on different lines to get to either city, he said.

"If we had our own multi-modal center, or a center that offered various modes of transportation, it would make it easier, better and more efficient for everybody," Chase said.

The transit funds are part of the 1996 Department of Transportation's Appropriations Act, which included $12.9 million for bus services in Maryland.

The funds also will finance these projects:

Purchasing a 30-foot expansion bus with a lift, some bus radios and additional money for the construction of an administrative-maintenance building for the Frederick County Transit System.

Purchasing a 30-foot replacement bus with a lift, computer hardware and software and renovation of an administrative-maintenance facility for the Harford County Transit Service.

Purchasing six 40-foot replacement buses with lifts and computer hardware for Ocean City.

In addition, money has been set aside to purchase four 30-foot replacement buses with lifts, and route signs and fare boxes to provide transportation services to rural areas in Maryland.

"These funds represent a milestone in our efforts to create safer roads and highways and improve transportation in Maryland," said Mikulski, who is a member of the Appropriations Committee that funds FTA.

Pub Date: 12/26/96

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