OK, it is no secret that I am on the Board of Directors of the West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. So that means I pay attention to what is going on out there because changes in economic impact affect my clients.
On Monday morning, West County got a special surprise: the announcement of $30M in state highway funds to match the $10M provided by a federal TIGER grant to widen MD175 between Reece and Disney roads. This area, which some refer to as the “soda straw,” is the limiting factor preventing the region from benefiting from the widening that has already occurred north of Rockenbach Road, as 6 lanes becomes 2 lanes before again widening to 5. With this announcement, the project is fully funded for design through construction, and is expected to be under construction by 2016, well ahead of the state’s original schedule.
The West County Chamber has long advocated for the widening of MD175 to be expedited in response to the significant growth at Ft. Meade, and we were recognized at the ceremony as a key advocate on behalf of West County, Fort Meade, and the Odenton Town Center by numerous speakers. According to Sen. Mikulski, this project would not have been funded without the support of the local business community.
Why it matters: Everyone in West County is impacted by congestion on MD175 in one way or another. Whether it’s small businesses whose customers can’t reach them, larger businesses whose employees are late to work because of backups near Fort Meade, or the tens of thousands of commuters who pass down MD175 on their way to work or to the MARC station, it’s a crucial throughway whose improvement is long overdue.
So I take this as good work on the part of the West County Chamber. Keep that in mind the next time someone talks to you about joining the Chamber. It is truly not your simple networking group.
As always, good luck and good hunting.
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