Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger is seeking $74 million for local projects in the fiscal 2008 federal budget, mostly for roads, mass transit and other infrastructure to accommodate growth at Maryland military bases, he said yesterday.
Ruppersberger, a Democrat whose district includes Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground, said that improving mass transit to handle thousands of new defense workers coming to those installations "is one of our highest priorities."
The congressman made his comments in Linthicum during the annual luncheon for the Fort Meade Alliance, the lobbying arm for the Army post. A member of the House Appropriations Committee, he called for $25 million for roads and mass transit; $21 million for water and sewer systems; and $28 million for infrastructure needs specifically at APG in Harford County and Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County.
"Whether we like it or not, the federal government is bringing a lot of jobs here, and they have to help us with the resources," Ruppersberger said afterward.
Ruppersberger said in his speech that he wants to see transportation funding go toward an easily assessable bus system linking MARC rail and the Army installations, along with widening highways at key pressure points.
Mass transit must be "quick, fast and reliable," he said afterward, or many of the estimated 45,000 to 60,000 workers moving to Maryland because of the base realignment and closure process, known as BRAC, will stay in their cars and exacerbate congestion.
Ruppersberger added that state officials will announce key BRAC-related transportation projects in the next few weeks.
He did not elaborate.