Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lots of BRAC news cropping up lately

The Baltimore Examiner has several stories that touch on BRAC today:

J. Thomas (Tom) Sadowski, Executive Vice President of The Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, the public/private economic development organization that markets greater Baltimore wrote a commentary piece giving a BRAC update. Click here to read it.

The Examiner also has a story on school overcrowding and its relationship to BRAC:

Overcrowded schools in Harford brace for BRAC

"... (Harford County school) Board members are facing overcrowded elementary schools, a flood of more students from the military’s Base Realignment and Closure Act, and the possibility of redistricting twice in a year.

Prospect Mill Elementary is the most overcrowded school in the county at nearly 150 percent, schools spokesman Don Morrison said in an interview.

An elementary school on Vale Road is slated to be completed in the summer of 2010, easing Prospect Mill’s seams, but after another elementary school is built the following year, the county’s elementary schools will still be at 105 percent capacity, board members said.

And that’s not fac:

From the Examiner June 21:

Army informs county of effects of BRAC’s population influx

"Harford County (Map, News) - An Army official told the Harford County Council Tuesday night that economists predict the county will see 54,000 incoming residents from the federal Base Realignment and Closure initiative.

Col. John Wright, the deputy installation commander for Aberden Proving Ground, made the first BRAC presentation at a council meeting, attempting to prepare it for a population explosion that could strain the county’s infrastructure.

“We’re trying to be ready inside the gate, and give you as much information as we can, so you can be ready outside the gate,” Wright said.

He said that fewer than 50 people already have moved from Fort Monmouth, N.J., though most are expected to relocate around the year 2010.

About 8,200 more civilians will work at APG, meaning that 30,000 people will be going in and out of the base every day, taxing roads like Route 22, which is already notoriously well-traveled, even more, Wright said."

This from the Washington Times today:

Democrat seeks aid for BRAC counties

"Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger says he will attempt to secure $74 million from the fiscal 2008 federal budget to help Maryland prepare for an influx of workers as its military bases expand.
Mr. Ruppersberger, Maryland Democrat, will seek $25 million for road improvements and mass transit, $21 million for water and sewer systems and $28 million for infrastructure needs at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County and Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County, according to the Baltimore Sun."

This from the Washington Business Journal June 20:

Challenges confront Maryland as state prepares for BRAC moves

"Congressional efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, a federal backlog in the processing of security clearance requests and the estimated $4.5 billion in needed construction projects are just a few of the factors that could make it difficult for Maryland to get ready for an influx of 40,000 to 60,000 new jobs by 2011.

"'One concern is probably: A, maintaining the security at these sites; and B, making sure these projects are done on time,' said Heather A. James, counsel at Baltimore-based law firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, during a discussion on construction and the federal military's plan for base realignment and closure (BRAC)."

This from the Annapolis Capital Online today:

Officials press to improve MARC

"Concerned about the strain growth at military bases in Maryland will put on rail lines, six local elected officials are asking Gov. Martin O'Malley to improve service for commuters.
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council, a board that includes County Executive John R. Leopold as well as top elected officials from Baltimore City and Carroll, Harford, Baltimore and Howard counties, sent a letter to the governor asking him to improve commuter rail lines."

This from the Washington Post June 21:

BRAC Planning Brings Jurisdictions Together

"The Pentagon's base realignment plan will launch what has been called the single largest job expansion in Maryland since World War II and will fuel a building boom needed to expand schools, modernize roads and develop housing to accommodate up to 60,000 new workers.

Yet, counties and cities aren't fighting over the spoils, at least for now, but rather are working together in unusual fashion to ensure the region as a whole is prepared for the growth caused by the Base Realignment and Closure plan, known as BRAC.

Just as surprising, the state is abandoning the common practice of waiting for local jurisdictions to go to Annapolis to argue for their share of the pie. When a new BRAC subcabinet created by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) met Friday for the second time, it convened 60 miles from the capital, at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in St.Mary's County. The next meeting will be in Frederick, with future stops likely in Montgomery, Howard and Harford counties."

This from the Baltimore Sun June 15:

Senate panel approves BRAC funding

A Senate panel approved $984.2 million yesterday for military construction in Maryland, including $719.7 million to accommodate the base realignment that is expected to bring tens of thousands of jobs to the state.

The $109.2 billion military construction and veterans affairs bill that was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee includes includes $287.1 million for Aberdeen Proving Ground, $164 million for Fort Meade and $214.8 million for the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

The proposal now heads to the full Senate, with a vote expected this summer.

The figures were announced by the office of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a member of the Appropriations Committee. The Maryland Democrat was not available for comment, a spokeswoman said.

Expansion at Aberdeen in Harford County, Fort Meade in Anne Arundel and other military installations is expected to bring 40,000 to 60,000 new jobs to the state over the next five years.

The military construction bill does not include money to help local communities expand roads, schools and sewer systems to accommodate the expansion. Mikulski's spokeswoman said the senator would seek federal funding for those services in an upcoming transportation spending bill."

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