Bethesda, MD – U.S Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and Congressman Chris Van Hollen (all D-MD) visited the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Gateway Center today to award $40 million to Montgomery County and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) for a new pedestrian underpass at the Medical Center Metro station. The funding is part of an $89 million series of grants to the county and state for BRAC-related transportation. Accepting the ceremonial check were Montgomery County Director of Transportation Art Holmes, who will oversee the grant funds, and WMATA General Manager Rich Sarles.
“Our brave troops who fought in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere shouldn’t have to fight traffic heading to Walter Reed for medical treatment and they shouldn’t have to fight for the safety of their family crossing Rockville Pike,” said Senator Cardin. “This funding is welcome 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. As a delegation, we have been united in our efforts to support BRAC expansion throughout our state. We are proud that BRAC has created tens of thousands of jobs in Maryland – important federal jobs and private sector jobs.”
“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 member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, who fought to put the funds in the federal checkbook. “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.”
“Team Maryland is committed to ensuring that Walter Reed is a world-class center of excellence for the brave Americans who have given so much to our country, and this funding is critical to that effort,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “This project will improve access to the facility for patients, families, and base personnel while improving access to NIH and reducing traffic congestion in the surrounding community – a win-win for everyone.”
The BRAC relocation is expected to bring as many as 60,000 new jobs to Maryland and 28,000 new households. The new tunnel will improve safety for the thousands of commuters and visitors crossing Rockville Pike between the Medical Center/NIH Metro station and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center every day.