Maryland governor uses fees to add road projects

| Friday, January 07, 2005

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. intends to add $143 million in new projects to Maryland’s six-year transportation program.

The big spending boost initiative was made possible in large part by Ehrlich’s increases in motor vehicle registration fees approved by the General Assembly last year.

At a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 5, Ehrlich thanked lawmakers who supported his $238 million revenue package. He said their support would make possible highway and mass-transit projects in every corner of the state.

The 123 major projects come after three years in which little was added to the six-year plan, The Associated Press reported.

Most of the projects added to the $12.3 billion transportation capital program had been announced at local news conferences held by the governor and transportation officials during the past several months, but 12 projects were revealed for the first time Wednesday. Among the new projects are work on Interstate 70 and the extension of state Highway 475, an interchange at I-95 and state Highway 24 in Hartford, and widening the Baltimore Beltway between Interstates 83 and 95.

The projects are all part of a six-year, $12.3 billion transportation capital program. Ehrlich’s spending plans will be reviewed by the General Assembly during the coming 90-day session, but approval of the transportation package typically is routine.

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