Senators Scrap For Route 113 Funds

BERLIN – At a time when state funding for highway projects has become doubtful, Maryland’s U.S. Senators this week announced nearly $1 million has been included for the ongoing Route 113 dualization project in a recently approved federal transportation appropriations bill.

Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin this week announced the federal Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill approved by a House-Senate conference committee as part of the larger 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Bill includes over $2 million in federal funding for key Eastern Shore projects including nearly $1 million for the ongoing Route 113 project. The announcement comes at a time when continued state funding for Route 113 has been called into question.

The long-term project includes dualizing Route 113 from the Delaware line to its southern terminus near Pocomoke. The northern section from Berlin to the Delaware line was completed years ago and the remaining southern section has been divided into several phases, which will be completed in the future as state and federal funding allows. The most recent section, phase 2A, was completed last month and the next phase includes a roughly two-mile section from Goody Hill Rd. to Massey Branch.

The latest section, estimated to cost a total of about $4.7 million, is in the engineering phase with no firm starting date for the construction phase. State officials said this fall there is little funding available for the construction phase, but Mikulski and Cardin were successful in getting $950,000 in federal funds earmarked in the 2010 appropriations bill approved this week.

“When completed, the expansion of U.S. 113 to a four-lane highway will help address safety concerns, relieve congestion on this heavily traveled roadway and support the community and local businesses,” said Cardin. “As a member of the Environment and Public Safety Committee, I am especially pleased that roadway improvements for U.S. 113 include resurfacing of existing roadways and shoulders, reforestation, drainage upgrades and better signage and pavement markings.”

Mikulski said she hoped the injection of federal funds would keep the project moving and vowed to continue to fight for Route 113 in the federal checkbook.

“You can count on me to fight for federal investments in Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” she said. “It shouldn’t fall upon locals, like families and small business owners, to meet federal responsibilities where the federal budget is skimpy and Spartan. It’s my job to fight for funding in the federal checkbook where there is a federal responsibility but not enough funding.”