Frederick County now has a better idea of the state support it can expect for transportation projects over the next few years.
Maryland transportation officials met with county commissioners, area representatives and the public Thursday to discuss priorities.
The meeting was part of the Maryland Department of Transportation's statewide tour to review its Consolidated Transportation Program, which lays out short-term and long-term transportation goals.
Finishing the U.S. 15-Monocacy Boulevard interchange remains a top priority. The State Highway Administration added $80 million from Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 funding for its completion.
MDOT Deputy Secretary Wilson Parran said the transportation program for fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2019 has the largest budget in Maryland's history, $15.4 billion.
That amount will fund highway, transit and alternative transportation projects.
In Frederick County, SHA will finish widening I-70 from east of Md. 355 to east of Md. 144. It will also widen bridges on I-270 over Md. 80 and Bennett Creek and replace the Md. 140 bridge over the Monocacy River.
The state will also look to upgrade I-70 from Mount Phillip Road to Md. 144 and Md. 85 from English Muffin Way to Grove Road, among other projects.
Diane Ratcliff, Maryland Transit Administration director of planning and programming, said the agency will contribute $1.9 million in operational funding to Frederick County transit.
It will also supply $155,000 this year to buy three new buses.
The county had requested funds for a platform at the Point of Rocks MARC train station, but Ratcliff said funding for that project was not scheduled in the six-year budget.
State Sen. Ron Young and Frederick Mayor Randy McClement supported adding weekend MARC train service but noted the lack of funding.
Maryland budgeted $200 million for alternative transportation, Parran said, including $1 million for the Ballenger Creek trail project.
Parran announced to applause that the state approved a request for $3 million toward the Carroll Creek Park pathway project.
Ashish Solanki, of the Maryland Aviation Administration, said his agency will partner with the Federal Aviation Administration to provide $6.8 million to support capital projects at Frederick Municipal Airport.
Audience members took the opportunity to lobby for future transportation projects. Several mentioned easing congestion on I-270.
"I just want to see 270 fixed in my lifetime," said state Sen. David Brinkley. "It might be that tolling is the way to fix that."
County Commissioner Billy Shreve asked if improvements were planned for the corridor. Doug Simmons, of SHA, said expansion of the interstate has not been funded, but the state is considering transit solutions.
Frederick Alderwoman Carol Krimm encouraged the transportation officials to consider a program allowing buses to travel on the I-270 shoulder as a way to ease congestion.
"I think commuter bus is a short-term solution and maybe even a long-term solution for our problems on 270," she said.
Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs asked for state funds to refurbish the town square, saying the town had secured $100,000 toward the project.
Delegate Kathy Afzali requested streetscape funding to make Libertytown pedestrian-friendly.
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Copyright 2013 - The Frederick News-Post, Md.