It wasn’t exactly what St. Mary’s Commissioner Todd Morgan (R: 4th) wanted. But in the end the commissioners reached a compromise that accelerates the construction timetable for FDR Boulevard. On a 4-1 vote the commissioners agreed to acquire the rest of the land needed to complete the road from First Colony to Pegg Road during the next two fiscal years (FY 2013 and FY 2014) and begin construction of the stretch from First Colony to Route 237 in FY 2015.
Morgan, a strong advocate of the road as necessary for the future of Patuxent River Naval Air Station, argued for completing construction in the three fiscal years beginning in FY 1’14. Morgan did support the motion saying he was okay with it, “As long as we are moving forward.
Commissioner Lawrence Jarboe (R: 3rd) opposed the motion. He has been a consistent critic of the project but said he voted against the motion because he would have liked to see construction delayed until FY ’16. “I don’t know how long acquisition will take. Put it out to ’16 and beyond for discussion in another election process,” He said.
Commissioner Daniel Morris, in opposing Jarboe’s push for a FY ’16 construction start, said, “I am leery about sending the wrong message.
The 3.5 mile stretch from First Colony is estimated to cost almost $4.6 million in land acquisition, $1.4 million for design and $18 million for construction. The county has given prior approval for almost $5 million for the project. There is no state or federal money available for the project. Impact fees, bonds or general fund transfers are the three major potential sources of funding.
Commissioner Cynthia Jones (R: 1st) was a strong advocate of doing all of the land acquisition first and then proceeding with construction. She called the land acquisition the first priority.
Commissioner President Francis “Jack” Russell was ready to support Morgan’s preference for an earlier construction date but went along with the compromise.
According to Director of Public Works and Transportation George Erichsen, FDR would divert about 10,000 cars daily from Route 235. Route 235 now carries about 50,000 cars a day. The new FDR Boulevard was originally planned as a four-lane divided expressway but the concept was changed a number of years ago to a two-lane neighborhood collector designed for use of the residents living along it and some businesses that back up to it.
In other decisions on the capital budget this week the commissioners removed a new Fairlead Academy behind the tech center from the next fiscal year until FY ’14.and agreed to leave in the budget more than $3 million for acquisition of two school sites (elementary and middle schools) for the next fiscal year. Both were on 5-0 votes.