U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and Congressman Chris Van Hollen recently announced unprecedented federal investment of $300 million in BRAC-related transportation projects outside the gate of what will be the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. Projects include improvements to the surrounding roads, including MD-355, and upgrades to the Metro station.
The $300 million was included for BRAC-related transportation mitigation efforts for the future Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda (currently the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center) and the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia as part of the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Act. Both installations and their surrounding communities stand to be heavily impacted by the 2005 BRAC-mandated consolidation, which is set to conclude in September 2011.
"This announcement is good news for the thousands of wounded warriors and their families who will use the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as well as Montgomery County's beleaguered commuters," says Senator Cardin. "As a delegation, we have been united in our effort to provide needed federal support for the expanded medical facility and the tens of thousands of new military and civilian jobs being brought to our state through the BRAC process."
"I fought in the Senate to BRAC-proof Maryland's bases, now I am working to BRAC-ready our transportation systems. Our troops fight overseas to protect our freedom, they shouldn't have to fight traffic to get the care they've earned when they get back," says Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "The Walter Reed National Military Center at Bethesda will be the frontline in delivering care to our wounded warriors."
"This unprecedented investment will allow us to help ensure that the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is a world-class center of excellence for our nation's wounded warriors, and that the demands placed on the surrounding community as a result of this relocation are adequately addressed," says Congressman Van Hollen. "Federal, state and local officials are working closely with the community to create as smooth a transition as possible, and this funding will be a critical component of our success."
The BRAC Commission's recommendations will bring 45,000 to 60,000 new jobs to Maryland by 2020 as well as new sources of state revenue.
Writer: Walaika Haskins