New bridge a good step, more in­fra­struc­ture funds needed

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

The Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce Eco­nomic Development Com­mit­tee com­mends Gov. Larry Ho­gan’s re­cent an­nounce­ment of $765 mil­lion in fund­ing for con­struc­tion of a new Po­tomac River cross­ing from Charles County to King Ge­orge County, Va. The gov­er­nor should also be com­mended for an ag­gres­sive project that in­di­cates the new bridge will be com­plete by 2023. The cham­ber con­curs with Gov­er­nor Ho­gan’s state­ment: “This cross­ing is vi­tal to the na­tion’s se­cu­rity and to the qual­ity of life of thou­sands of Mary­lan­ders who de­pend on this bridge daily for work, business and recre­ation.”

The Cham­ber of Com­merce Eco­nomic Development Com­mit­tee en­cour­ages the Charles County Com­mis­sion­ers to fol­low Gov­er­nor Ho­gan’s ex­am­ple. Over the past five to seven years, Charles County has not re­mained true to its Long Term Trans­porta­tion Plan and has con­sis­tently elim­i­nated and de­funded lo­cal trans­porta­tion projects. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, the county has pro­vided no al­ter­na­tive long term trans­porta­tion plan.

The Cham­ber of Com­merce has ad­vo­cated vig­or­ously over the past 10-20 years for fund­ing for safe, ad­e­quate and ef­fi­cient in­fra­struc­ture which is crit­i­cal to eco­nomic development and job growth in our county. In or­der for busi­nesses to in­vest or grow and to cre­ate jobs, busi­nesses need in­fra­struc­ture or the cer­tainty that in­fra­struc­ture will be there. Traf­fic re­lief is not just a business is­sue, but is also a con­sis­tent theme from the mo­tor­ing pub­lic in hear­ing after hear­ing and in com­ment after com­ment on so­cial me­dia. More­over, a safe, ef­fi­cient road net­work is crit­i­cal to our res­i­dents, our first re­spon­ders and our chil­dren — all of whom tra­verse our roads.

The Cham­ber’s Eco­nomic Development Com­mit­tee thanks the gov­er­nor and im­plores the county com­mis­sion­ers to en­sure rapid com­ple­tion of the West­ern Park­way, which in­cludes fund­ing of all phases of the West­ern Park­way — to in­clude Phases IIIA and IIIB, and to move quickly to im­ple­ment and fund a long-term trans­porta­tion plan that in­cludes east-west con­nec­tions and does not rely solely upon a northsouth tran­sit route.

Mau­reen Woodruff, La Plata The writer is the chair­woman of the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce’s Eco­nomic Development Com­mit­tee.

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