Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner’s Statement on BRAC Funding
District 1 Councilmember Says $1 Million for Turn Lanes Is ‘Very Small Down
Payment on the Many Improvements’ Needed in Bethesda Naval Medical Center Area
ROCKVILLE, Md., July 16, 2008—Montgomery County District 1 Councilmember Roger Berliner (Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac) today said he was pleased to learn that the U.S. Department of Defense has agreed to provide $1 million in funding for turn lane road improvements in the area around the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center. However, he said funding for the project “is one very small down payment on the many improvements that will be necessary to fully mitigate the increased traffic congestion created by the expansion of Navy Med under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan.”
The medical center’s campus will become the future home to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center under the BRAC plan.
Complete statement by Councilmember Berliner:
“I was pleased to learn today that the Defense Department has agreed to construct turn lane improvements at the North Wood Road entrance to the National Naval Medical Center on Rockville Pike at a cost of approximately $1 million.
“Although I am encouraged by the Defense Department’s decision, this project is one very small down payment on the many improvements that will be necessary to fully mitigate the increased traffic congestion created by the expansion of Navy Med under the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). For example, in order to encourage increased Metro ridership by Navy Med employees and visitors, it is critical that the Defense Department step up to the plate and fully fund a new east-side entrance to the Medical Center Metro Station. Moreover, there are many other intersections around Navy Med, such as Rockville Pike and Cedar Lane, that already exceed congestion standards and will only worsen as BRAC is implemented.
“I am gratified that our representatives in Congress recognize the importance of completely mitigating the traffic impacts of the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and have expressed their commitment to securing the federal assistance we need. Bethesda is a welcoming community, and we will give the brave soldiers, sailors and Marines who will be treated at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center the hero’s welcome they deserve. However, I will also continue to push for the construction of a new Metro entrance and all the federal assistance to which we are entitled, so that our community will not suffer from additional unrelieved congestion.”