Remarks by Secretary Slater at the Baltimore-Washington Parkway Innovative Financing Announcement
Rodney E. Slater, United States Secretary of Transportation
October 21, 1998
PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION RODNEY E. SLATER
BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON PARKWAY ANNOUNCEMENT
OCTOBER 21, 1998
Todays announcement is about common sense government working smarter and better for the people of Maryland and the national capital region.
A common sense government is what President Clinton has been providing our nation these last five years. Under his leadership, America is enjoying remarkable prosperity. Today, we have the lowest unemployment rate in 28 years; the first balanced budget and surplus in 29 years; the lowest inflation in more than three decades; and the highest home ownership ever, and our economy is the strongest its been in a generation
And here in Maryland, Governor Parris Glendening and the Maryland Delegation are working to ensure that this prosperity reaches all the people of Maryland. With a $173 million budget surplus, the economy is surging and job growth is high. Working together, they are bringing economic opportunity to all Marylanders.
The construction of the Maryland Route 197 Interchange is a prime example of common sense government working smarter and better for the people. Here are three great reasons why.
First, we have reduced construction time from six years down to two -- significantly minimizing the impact on commuters and visitors to our nations capital. Second, we have reduced the construction stages from six to one -- using innovative financing methods we will speed project completion while reducing costs and improving construction efficiency. Construction will began in early 1999. Third -- and most important -- we are saving taxpayers $2 to $3 million.
And we can thank Congressman Steny Hoyer for moving it forward. For more than a decade now Congressman Hoyer has given his unwavering support to the BW Parkway reconstruction. Since 1986, he has brought more than $145 million home to Maryland to rebuild the Parkway.
Working together with the Federal Highway Administration, the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Office, and the National Park Service, he helped craft a winning transportation strategy for commuters and for visitors to our nations capital.
Let me congratulate Congressman Steny Hoyer and the Maryland Delegation for their dedication and commitment to providing safe and efficient intermodal transportation choices for the people of Maryland.
BW Parkway connects Maryland commuters to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, to both the MTA and MARC commuter rail lines and to the Washington and Baltimore suburbs.
The Parkway was originally designed to give motorists an enjoyable, park-like driving experience. It connected federal employees to the areas four federal centers -- Fort Meade, the National Security Agency, the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center. But as the suburbs +grew -- so too did the traffic.
Since its opening in 1954, the Parkways vehicle traffic has risen dramatically -- from 20,000 motorists every day -- to about 98,000 today.
Our goal is to keep the BW Parkway a safe place to drive, while preserving the aesthetic scenery that presents such a grand entrance to our nations capital.
More than $150 million has been spent on the 18.5 mile federal portion of the Parkway. And today we commit the final $27 million for completion of the Route 197 Interchange.
This Baltimore-Washington Parkway reconstruction project speaks to President Clintons commitment to rebuild America. Our investments today will build a strong transportation system that will take us into the 21st century.
Transportation is about so much more than concrete, asphalt and steel. It is about people and their pursuit of happiness. It is about getting people to work, to school, to recreation, to an enhanced quality of life. The completion of this restoration project will do that and more for this great state.
Working with Congressman Hoyer and the Maryland Delegation, we will continue to build a safe and efficient intermodal transportation system that will carry the people of Maryland into the 21st century.
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