Thursday, April 28, 2011
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett hailed the appropriation of $300 million by the United States Congress for projects to relieve traffic congestion in Bethesda and other communities with BRAC (Defense Base Closure and Realignment)-impacted military hospitals.
“We owe a great debt to our Congressional delegation for their very hard work and leadership in securing these urgently needed BRAC funds,” said Leggett. “Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin took the lead and worked hand-in-hand to move this funding through both houses of Congress. I also want to commend Bethesda’s good friends, Congressman Bill Young of Florida, the late Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, and Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, whose selfless devotion to our men and women in uniform is well known, particularly at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval hospitals. It may take awhile, but the projects that will go forward with this additional funding will truly make a difference in alleviating traffic gridlock in Bethesda – ensuring that patients, doctors and families visiting our wounded warriors can receive the service they deserve.”
Under BRAC, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center will close its Northwest Washington campus on September 15 and consolidate in Bethesda, with the National Naval Medical Center becoming the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Personnel working at the Bethesda campus will increase from 8,000 to 10,500 – almost a 33 percent increase – and visits to the hospital campus will double from 500,000 to one million per year. All BRAC-related construction on the Navy campus has been fully funded, but until now the federal government had not properly funded the cost of adapting Bethesda’s roads, transit network or pedestrian facilities to accommodate this dramatic growth.
The County and State of Maryland have collaborated on a number of improvements that have been completed or are underway. The new funding will be used for essential upgrades to major intersections, improvements to vehicle and pedestrian mobility and enhanced access to the Medical Center Metro station.
POSTED AT: 8:00:00 AM