Tuesday, March 3, 2009

first stimulus package project is in silver spring (or is it?) (updated)

UPDATE: Governor O'Malley insists that yes, the first transportation project to come under the stimulus bill is in fact on New Hampshire Avenue in Colesville. Scroll down to read the letter from his office, which you can also find on the Department of Transportation's website.

On CNN about twenty minutes ago there was a brief segment about the nation's first project approved under President Obama's stimulus package - and it's the resurfacing of about a mile of New Hampshire Avenue near Venice Drive in Colesville. I greatly enjoyed watching CNN's Tony Harris trip over himself trying to show that yes, he did know where the project was, though neither he nor the other talking head could get past calling it "Maryland State Highway 650" or "Montgomery County." (And they say they "know" D.C.. Talk about Beltway insiders!)

But is New Hampshire Avenue really the first sign of Obama's big plan to rebuild America? I could only find one little article published today that mentions it, but a Google search suggests that a bridge replacement in central Missouri was the first project to break ground, having done so two weeks ago.

Oh, well. I hate when cable news tries to put their own spin on the truth. Bill O'Reilly would've definitely been more forward with us.

Governor O'Malley's letter follows AFTER THE JUMP . . .


Improvement of New Hampshire Avenue Is First Project Approved by the Federal Highway Administration Under Recovery and Reinvestment Act

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 4, 2009) – Moving quickly to preserve jobs in Maryland by investing in its infrastructure, Governor Martin O’Malley today announced construction will start this week on a $2.1 million road resurfacing and improvement project along New Hampshire Avenue in Montgomery County. The New Hampshire Avenue project is the first project in the nation approved by the Federal Highway Administration under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Just two weeks after President Obama signed the Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, we are putting people to work in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “With the start of this project, we begin the aggressive investment in our roads, bridges and transit systems that has the potential to support up to 17,500 jobs. The road to recovery begins here as we start our effort to build a stronger Maryland.”

Within 24 hours of President Obama signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, Governor O’Malley announced the state was ready to proceed with the first wave of Maryland transportation projects eligible for federal recovery dollars. Maryland’s commitment to move projects forward quickly in an effort to stimulate the economy was recognized today by President Barack Obama and United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

At a Washington event this morning with President Obama and Vice President Biden marking the release of $26.6 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to states, President Obama and Secretary LaHood noted that some of the money would be used in Montgomery County, where crews will start road repairs this week on a one-mile stretch of New Hampshire Avenue.

“Right here, right now, we’re demonstrating the value that is created when our government makes an immediate and direct investment in the transportation resources that people depend on every single day,” said Secretary LaHood. “This is not an abstract promise by Uncle Sam. This is about making investments that pay real dividends—in jobs, in safety, and in the quality of life for everyone who lives and works here.”

Each proposed highway project must be approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Each state’s governor must certify that their proposed projects meet certain conditions and that the state will use ARRA funds in addition to, and not to replace, state funding of transportation projects. Governor O’Malley filed the formal certification last Friday enabling the New Hampshire Avenue project to be the first project in the nation approved by FHWA under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The cost of the New Hampshire Avenue safety and resurfacing project is $2..1 million. The existing asphalt will be removed from all six lanes (three in each direction) along a 1.1-mile stretch between Milestone Drive and Venice Drive. A new asphalt surface will be applied. All existing sidewalk ramps will be upgraded to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The project also will include replacement of curbs and gutters, median and drainage upgrades, installation of new countdown pedestrian signals at crosswalks, new signing and pavement markings.

The project is expected to support 60 jobs with completion scheduled for late fall 2009. This portion of New Hampshire Avenue carries 44,000 vehicles per day. It was last resurfaced in 1992.

The New Hampshire Avenue project is part of Maryland’s first phase of transportation projects that will benefit from federal economic recovery funding. A total of $365 million worth of road, bridge and transit improvements will be advertised in the next 90 to 120 days. A second phase of recovery projects will be announced in late March. Maryland is expected to receive a total of $638 million in federal recovery funds for transportation improvements around the state.

More information on Maryland’s strategy for utilizing federal economic recovery dollars for transportation and the specific list of Phase I projects can be found at www.marylandtransportation.com.

1 comment:

Sligo said...

How about the Purple Line instead?