Maryland Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin sent letters this week to the Maryland and Federal Transit Administrations in support of a federal grant request that would fund three buses to shuttle defense workers from Fort Meade to surrounding train stations.
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold submitted the request in April to encourage mass transit in an area experiencing growth because of Base Realignment and Closure at Fort Meade. Leopold set aside $108,000 from the 2008 county budget and is asking for $432,000 in a 80 percent/20 percent match with the federal government.
"County Executive Leopold is trying to maximize opportunities to link various transit modes... and routes in west county where a lot of jobs are projected to come," said Dave Abrams, spokesman for Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning.
If awarded the money, the county will purchase three buses to bring commuters from the Odenton MARC station to Fort Meade and on to the Savage MARC station in Howard County. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman also supports the endeavor.
These buses would be the first in organizing a public transportation system for Anne Arundel County. Leopold said he does not have any plans to expand the program beyond the three buses, but he is interested in partnering with transit programs in other jurisdictions.
This is part of an initiative to revise general development plans in the next 18 months by having "mixed-use transit oriented development," which would create more pedestrian-friendly communities and reduce pollution by making people less dependent on cars, Leopold said.