Per­ryville seeks state help for Route 222

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— Per­ryville of­fi­cials want Ce­cil County res­i­dents to see the same toll dis­count at the Ty­d­ings Bridge as the one af­forded for the Hatem Bridge dur­ing rush hour, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter sent from town hall to the head of the Maryland De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

The May 31 let­ter – ad­dressed to Pete K. Rahn, sec­re­tary of the agency – is an at­tempt by Per­ryville’s mayor and com­mis­sion­ers to es­tab­lish needs left off Ce­cil County’s trans­porta­tion pri­or­ity list. Ide­ally, the dis­count will help avoid traffic back­ups along Route 222 and Route 40. A study to de­ter­mine lost rev­enue may be needed, the let­ter added.

“The toll cre­ates an eco­nomic bar­rier, ef­fec­tively sep­a­rat­ing Per­ryville and all of Ce­cil County from the rest of Maryland,” the let­ter reads. “The eco­nomic im­pact is in­or­di­nately large to Per­ryville as the first town that driv­ers en­ter af­ter the toll. This is ev­i­denced by higher unemployment rates in Per­ryville rel­a­tive to the rest of Ce­cil County as well as rel­a­tive to the State of Maryland as a whole.”

While thank­ing the state

PER­RYVILLE

for low­er­ing the rate from $8 to $6 last year, town of­fi­cials claim al­low­ing for rush hour ac­cess to the Ty­d­ings would also have eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ben­e­fits.

“We be­lieve this will pro­vide some mea­sure of eco­nomic re­lief to res­i­dents and small busi­nesses in Per­ryville...ul­ti­mately al­low­ing new busi­nesses to lo­cate along MD 222 near Hol­ly­wood Casino,” ac­cord­ing to the let­ter.

John Sales, spokesman for the sec­re­tary, said the agency does not com­ment on such let­ters and did not say if Rahn had re­sponded.

Also on the list: up­grades to the Route 222 in­ter­change to In­ter­state 95. State of­fi­cials have closed the door on any de­vel­op­ment in the area un­til the bridge is widened – a project the state ex­pects Per­ryville and the county to con­trib­ute.

Ce­cil County took that off its pri­or­ity list in fa­vor of smaller projects more likely to be con­sid­ered. How­ever, Per­ryville points to “the re­ces­sion and re­cent down­turn in our econ­omy (that) has al­lowed con­di­tions to re­main stag­nant,” adding that by re­strict­ing the ca­pac­ity of Route 222 it cre­ates “a de­ter­rent to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the area by all sur­round­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and Ce­cil County.”

“Up­grad­ing the bridge at this key in­ter­change is cru­cial to our town to de­velop projects such as the pro­posed com­mer­cial en­ter­tain­ment mixed use de­vel­op­ment where Hol­ly­wood Casino is lo­cated,” the let­ter con­tin­ued.

The let­ter to Rahn also pointed out that the al­most 50-year-old bridge is heav­ily trav­eled: “There­fore, it is vi­tally im­por­tant that traffic ac­cess is main­tained when the bridge is re­placed.”

The let­ter which was signed by Mayor Jim Eber­hardt, also re­it­er­ates the town’s long­stand­ing re­quest for side­walks along Route 222 from Clay­ton Street to St. Mark’s Church Road. An­other wish list item was in­creased MARC com­muter ser­vice to Per­ryville with mid-day and week­end train stops.

“There is a big push to ex­tend MARC ser­vice to Delaware, which is a wor­thy goal,” the let­ter reads. How­ever, as ev­i­denced by in­creased rid­er­ship, the town de­scribed its link in the ser­vice as “crit­i­cal ac­cess to jobs, in­creased ed­u­ca­tional (and) work op­por­tu­ni­ties, and tourism-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties in our re­gion.”

Lastly, the board wants the state to re­place the bridge on Ikea Road, but en­sure ac­cess to the town’s park and waste­water plant as well as the truck en­trance to the Vet­eran’s Af­fairs Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Perry Point and IKEA dur­ing con­struc­tion.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Traffic heads north on Route 222 from the Hatem Bridge toll booth and the red light at the in­ter­sec­tion of Route 40 and Route 222 in Per­ryville. Town of­fi­cials want state trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials to give lo­cals a dis­count at the In­ter­state 95 toll dur­ing rush hour.

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