WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) announced a $1.8 million Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant for the Board of County Commissioners of Washington County to construct the first phase of the Halfway Boulevard Extension – extending the road west to Route 63. The project will spur commercial development in the surrounding area, alleviate traffic congestion, and improve connectivity between I-70, I-81, and existing nearby commercial and industrial areas.
“This is a smart federal investment in Washington County’s infrastructure,” said Senator Cardin. “It will improve some of the area’s most heavily used roads, allowing local economies and commerce to continue growing and serving residents, all while creating hundreds of local, good-paying jobs. Projects like these that improve people’s lives should be applauded and duplicated throughout Maryland, and this grant should serve as a reminder of why it’s so critical that we continue to fully fund ARC in next year’s budget.”
“This funding is a win-win for Washington County and the surrounding region – it will create jobs and boost economic development, while making an overdue investment in our infrastructure and reducing traffic congestion,” said Senator Van Hollen. “We will keep fighting to protect ARC and other smart federal investments that help Western Maryland and the entire state.”
This new roadway is an essential component of a plan to develop surrounding land into a business park with over 1.4 million square feet of commercial space. It is estimated that this project will support the creation of 394 new jobs and leverage $500,000 in private investment.
The ARC received $152 million in the FY 2017 appropriations bill, up from the previous year’s $144 million. Since its creation, ARC has invested in 25,000 projects across Appalachia, creating nearly 312,000 jobs and generating $10 billion in added earnings for the region. After President Trump proposed eliminated ARC’s funding with his 2017 budget proposal, Senators Cardin and Van Hollen joined a bipartisan group of colleagues urging the president to reconsider and work with Congress to find the funds necessary. Their full letter can be found here.