On the ground in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Van Hollen optimistic on BRAC road funds

August 19, 2010 - 11:12 AM
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Rep. Chris Van Hollen
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) (Photo: TBD Staff)

This morning, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) spoke to TBD’s Bruce DePuyt on NewsTalk about unemployment, the war in Afghanistan, congressional scuffles, and the June 2009 Metro Red Line crash.

We caught up with Van Hollen afterward to ask about another important local issue: base realignment and closure, or BRAC.

Van Hollen helped secure $300 million in federal money to pay for upgrades in Virginia and Bethesda, where base realignment is underway. Walter Reed Army Medical Center will completely move to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda by September 2011. With the move comes many more drivers, and the federal money is needed to pay for improvements on nearby roads, such as MD-355.

But the money couldn’t be released because of a technicality, and the Senate has since stripped the funding out of a defense spending bill. Now Van Hollen is taking another crack at it by trying to get the funds allocated in another bill, which he says is expected to pass in October.

"It’s unfortunate that it’s taken this long, but there will be enough time," Van Hollen says. "I’m confident [it will pass]. We’re working on a bipartisan measure," he says.

What about a "plan b" in case that doesn’t work?

"'Plan b’ is getting it done," he says.

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