December 22, 2009
CARDIN, MIKULSKI & VAN HOLLEN JOIN WITH STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS TO ANNOUNCE $300 MILLION FOR ESSENTIAL BRAC TRAFFIC FIX IN NATIONAL CAPITOL REGION
Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and Congressman Chris Van Hollen (all D-Md.) gathered today at the edge of MD-355 and steps away from the Medical Center Metro Station with Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett to announce unprecedented federal investment in BRAC-related transportation projects outside the gate of what will be the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. Projects include improvements to the surrounding roads, including MD-355, and upgrades to the Metro station.
$300 million was included for BRAC-related transportation mitigation efforts for the future Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda (currently the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center) and the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia as part of the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Act. Both installations and their surrounding communities stand to be heavily impacted by the 2005 BRAC-mandated consolidation, which is set to conclude in September 2011.
"This announcement is good news for the thousands of wounded warriors and their families who will use the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as well as Montgomery County's beleaguered commuters," Senator Cardin said. "As a delegation, we have been united in our effort to provide needed federal support for the expanded medical facility and the tens of thousands of new military and civilian jobs being brought to our state through the BRAC process. I am pleased that we are able to make such an unprecedented investment in a truly world-class facility."
"I fought in the Senate to BRAC-proof Maryland's bases, now I am working to BRAC-ready our transportation systems. Our troops fight overseas to protect our freedom, they shouldn't have to fight traffic to get the care they've earned when they get back," said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "The Walter Reed National Military Center at Bethesda will be the frontline in delivering care to our wounded warriors. I am proud to partner with my Team Maryland colleagues to make BRAC a success and secure the federal funding needed to meet the increased demands on our communities."
"This unprecedented investment will allow us to help ensure that the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is a world-class center of excellence for our nation's wounded warriors, and that the demands placed on the surrounding community as a result of this relocation are adequately addressed," said Congressman Van Hollen. "Federal, state and local officials are working closely with the community to create as smooth a transition as possible, and this funding will be a critical component of our success."
"Senators Mikulski and Cardin and Congressman Van Hollen gave us all an early holiday present this year. The $300 million for BRAC transportation projects that Team Maryland successfully defended during the Defense Appropriations debates will go a long way to help Governor O'Malley and I and our partners in local government continue our shared efforts to preserve the high quality of life in the Bethesda communities," said Lt. Governor Brown, chair of the Governor's Subcabinet on Base Realignment and Closure. "Because we share an understanding that we can accomplish a great deal more when all stakeholders are working toward common goals and because we share a commitment to success, I am confident that when we complete this transition process, Montgomery County residents, Marylanders and Americans will all take pride in the expanded national service the Bethesda community will provide for those men and women who bravely wear our nation's uniform."
"I want to thank the folks who really made this possible. Our Congressman, Chris Van Hollen and our Senators, Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin," said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. "This new medical center is designed to provide world-class care to our nation's bravest men and women, but that mission will fail unless doctors, nurses, patients, family, and friends can gain timely access to the facility. Today's announcement represents a huge leap forward."
Maryland's Congressional delegation has fought to prepare Maryland communities and military bases for the 2005 BRAC process. The BRAC Commission's recommendations were a huge success and will bring 45,000 to 60,000 new jobs to Maryland by 2020 as well as new sources of state revenue.
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