County to get $2.3 million more in stimulus money

March 26, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County will receive $2.3 million in federal stimulus funds to use for transportation projects on county and local roads, state officials announced last week.

That's in addition to about $5.1 million that will be used for projects on state highways in Washington County and about $2.2 million the county will get for its transit system, according to a press release from Gov. Martin O'Malley's office.

The state of Maryland received a total of $610 million for transportation projects under President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Of that, $62 million is being made available to counties for use for their own road improvements, O'Malley's office said. It was distributed among the counties using a formula based on the number of vehicle registrations and the number of lane miles in each county, O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec said.


It will be up to county officials to decide how to spend that money, with some restrictions, said Jack Cahalan, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT).

The money must be used on projects that are federal-aid eligible and ready to be advertised by late summer, Cahalan said. To be federal-aid eligible, projects must be on certain types of roads, classified as "major collectors," which link local roads with highways, or else must be safety- or bridge-related, according to the MDOT Web site.

Federal-aid eligibility also requires the project meet a number of standards related to design, environmental impact, right-of-way acquisition and contract selection, according to MDOT. Funding already must be budgeted in a capital improvement program and will be reimbursed, according to MDOT.

Joseph Kroboth, director of public works for Washington County, said he was waiting for further guidance from state officials on what local projects are and are not eligible.

On a list of county, city and municipal projects the county compiled previously as candidates for stimulus funding, there were about $50 million worth of transportation projects identified as ready for advertisement by late summer.

Officials also will have to decide how to apportion the money between county projects, City of Hagerstown projects and town projects, Kroboth said.

The Washington County Commissioners will have to approve any decisions about how the funds are spent, he said.

The stimulus-funded state highway projects include paving projects, traffic signal upgrades and an intersection improvement, according to the list issued by O'Malley's office.

The state will spend $2.3 million on resurfacing projects in Washington County, creating about 66 jobs, according to the list. Kellie Boulware, spokeswoman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said the resurfacing will be done on portions of U.S. 40, Md. 58 and Md. 144.

The state also will spend about $800,000 on improvements to the intersection of Md. 65 and Md. 63 between Hagerstown and Sharpsburg, according to the list. It will spend about $900,000 to upgrade traffic signals to LED with battery backups, about $300,000 to add traffic detection to intersections with traffic signals, about $700,000 on "dynamic message signs" and about $100,000 on a sign lighting system, according to the list.

The recently announced projects complete the allocation of stimulus funds Maryland will receive for transportation infrastructure, O'Malley said in the release.

Local roads project choices

The following are some of the road projects Washington County could choose to fund with its $2.3 million in federal stimulus money allocated for road projects. All could be advertised within six months, according to a list the county submitted to state officials earlier this year.

o Roadway safety and resurfacing (city and county) - $26 million

o Full-depth pavement reclamation (city and county) - $10.5 million

o Improvements to the intersection of Halfway and Massey boulevards - $5 million

o Jonathan Street utility relocation - $2.8 million

o Shawley Drive relocation - $2.2 million

o Improvements to Mills Road bridge - $1 million

o Sharpsburg street resurfacing - $382,000

o Cramer's Alley widening - $300,000

o Frederick Street culvert extension - $300,000

o Traffic signal for South Pointe Drive at Oak Ridge Drive - $250,000

o Hancock street resurfacing - $203,000

o Traffic signal at Smithsburg school complex - $200,000

o Improvements to the intersection of U.S. 40 and Burhans Boulevard - $100,000

The Herald-Mail Articles