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Clinton's budget could benefit many in Tri-State

February 06, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

President Clinton's proposed $1.77 trillion budget includes funds for an exit off Interstate 81 near Martinsburg's City Hospital, an ammunition container complex at Letterkenny Army Depot and for land acquisition at three national parks in the Tri-State area.

His proposal for fiscal year 2000, which starts Oct. 1, 1999, calls for $5.05 million for the Dry Run interchange at Dry Run Road near City Hospital, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation and Steve Cohen in the office of U.S. Rep. Bob Wise.

Construction could begin on the two-year project in the fall, said Carol Melling, spokeswoman for the transportation department's Division of Highways.

The proposed budget includes $570,000 to design an ammunition container complex at Letterkenny, north of Chambersburg, Pa., said Letterkenny spokesman Alan Loessy.

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The project, which totals $4.22 million, would consist of a shipping container repair facility and a container loading facility, Loessy said.

Now Milvans - containers used to ship ammunition such as missiles via rail car - are likely to rust because they are stored outside, Loessy said.

The complex would allow personnel to touch up the Milvans and load them for transport in case the depot is mobilized for war, he said.

No new jobs are expected because of the project, Loessy said. The Letterkenny complex has about 2,300 military personnel and tenants, he said.

Up to 300 jobs could be saved at the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, W.Va.

The proposed budget calls for $14.5 million to keep the C-130 fleet at the base at 12 planes. Sen. Robert Byrd has been fighting to protect funding for the local base since Air National Guard officials learned last November that the 167th would face cuts.

Congress must still approve the budget.

PROTECTING NATIONAL PARKS




Clinton wants to preserve national treasures by buying nearby land, including properties around Civil War battlefields.

The proposed budget calls for Antietam National Battlefield to get $2 million to acquire 315 acres and Monocacy Battlefield to get $1.5 million for 89 acres, said Carol Anthony, park service spokeswoman.

C&O National Historical Park would get $800,000 to buy easements and land totalling more than 722 acres in Washington and Allegany counties, according to the park service.

There was no funding in the budget proposal to buy land for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Anthony said.

Catoctin Mountain Park Superintendent Mel Poole said he expects the park to be included in a $25 million project to control the spread of invasive species of plants at national parks.

About 15 exotic species are invading the park in northern Frederick County. Poole said he wants to focus on three, including the Microstegium, a Japanese grass that is the "problem child of the moment" along roadways.

The other two invasive species Poole prioritized are the Japanese Barberry - a shrublike ornamental species, and the Ailanthus or Tree of Heaven, which came over from China in the late 1700s or early 1800s and grows into a tree.

Invasive species compete with the area's natural species for light, water and nutrients, Poole said.

Teams would be stationed around the nation, sweeping into parks to do massive treatments before returning to the parks for a second treatment, he said.

The park service should get more "bang for our buck" by having mobile teams rather than each park having its own treatment station, hesaid.

Poole said he also expects the park to continue receiving enough money to restore four cabins a year at Camp Misty Mount and Camp Greentop. The cabins are rented from April through November.

TRANSPORTATION




Chambersburg, Pa., would get $1 million to design and build a Transit Authority Intermodal Center downtown that would house the transit authority and its buses, said Darrell Wilson, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa.

The center would be built near a proposed rails to trails development, Wilson said. A local match of at least $250,000 would be required, he said.

The Chambersburg Transit Authority is slated to get $300,000 for new buses, Wilson said. That funding would require a $75,000 local match.

Eva Verdier, the authority's interim director, said the money would allow the authority to buy two new buses to replace older equipment and expand present routes. The buses are expected in July.

The proposal also includes $2 million for U.S. 340 in Jefferson County and $200,000 for W.Va. 9 at Short Road, said Cohen in Wise's office.

The $2 million would be to extend the four-lane portion of U.S. 340 near Harpers Ferry, Cohen said.

The $200,000 would go toward a $500,000 project to add a center lane and stop light on W.Va. 9 near the IRS and Coast Guard facilities, according to Cohen and Melling.

TELEWORK CENTERS MIGHT SURVIVE




Clinton's proposal also includes almost $2 million to continue operating 17 telework centers plus one under construction for at least another year, said Mary Bray, program director at the Hagerstown Telework Center. Charles Town, W.Va., also has a telework center.

Telework centers are alternate workplaces for commuters, small business entrepreneurs and employees of businesses that need additional or satellite office space.

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