Cumberland Times-News

Local News

October 7, 2013

Commission accepts U.S. Route 220 funding

Transportation improvement blueprint revised as required

CUMBERLAND — Allegany County commissioners revised the county’s transportation improvement plan to add $5 million for the planning stage of a new U.S. Route 220, which will link the road to Corridor H in West Virginia.

To get the funding, the money must be amended into the plan, said county transportation planner Roy Cool. Projects can only be added to the plan when funding actually is available, Cool said. The monies became available recently, said State Highway Administration officials. The money includes $4 million in federal funds and $1 million in state funds, Cool said.

The road is part of the concept for the North-South Highway running from Pennsylvania to Corridor H. The Federal Highway Administration’s Record of Decision is expected during early winter of 2014 for the Tier I Project Planning Study, which would allow for Tier II of the study to begin.

State officials recently decided to recommend Corridor B as the preferred corridor for the new road. The recommendation was made by the administrators of West Virginia and Maryland. Once the recommended corridor has been concurred upon by the Federal Highway Administration, there will be a formal announcement, SHA officials said.

The recommendation has been listed on the SHA website. A possible corridor D spur could be part of the recommended route for the last few miles at the northern end of the route in Maryland. The number of routes within Corridor B has not been determined at this time.

Once the project moves to the Tier II phase, detailed engineering work will determine the number of alternatives that will be considered. Through this process, alternatives will ultimately be narrowed down to one alignment, SHA officials said.

Commissioners also decided to grant a property tax credit to several local organizations. County Attorney Bill Rudd said commissioners have granted the credits for some years. The organizations obtaining the credits were Frostburg Lions Club, LaVale Lions Foundation, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Development Co., Cumberland Cultural Foundation, Allegany County Agricultural Expo, Western Maryland Central Labor Council and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Local 1024.

Commissioners also ap-proved a Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Plan, required for eligibility for Community Development Block Grants. “This puts on paper what we’re already practicing,” said David Ned-ved, county economic and community development representative. The plan essentially sets out guidelines that prohibit housing discrimination based on several factors including race, sex and religion, Nedved said.

“We go above and beyond what is required,” said Commissioner Creade Brodie Jr.

Commissioners took the actions at their regular business meeting last week.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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