- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening yesterday reiterated his opposition to the proposed new "Techway Bridge" over the Potomac, while calling for a transportation summit meeting with D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III.
"Were going to resist any efforts that would destroy all of our land use or balanced approach with Smart Growth efforts over the last 10 years," Mr. Glendening, a Democrat, said after the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Blue Line Metro subway extension into Prince Georges County.
Mr. Glendening said he wants another bridge to go across the river, but not "down in the middle of a conservation area, a preservation area" located in Montgomery County. The proposed Montgomery County span is supported by Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, and others, such as the Technology Council of Maryland and the Northern Virginia Technology Council, which gave the bridge its support yesterday during a press conference.
At the groundbreaking for the 3.1-mile subway extension to Largo, Mr. Glendening also called for area leaders to unite behind "a vision for the future" of public transportation.
The Largo extension, which will include two stations at an estimated cost of $434 million, is scheduled to open by December 2004. It is the first extension of the original 103-mile system, which was completed this past January with the opening of five new stations along the Branch Avenue addition of the Green Line.
"Rather than jurisdictions working against one another in competition for federal support and federal money, we will unite in partnership behind a single, Washington-regional plan to secure and support funding," Mr. Glendening said.
As reported yesterday in The Washington Times, Mr. Glendening envisions convening the summit this fall involving Mr. Gilmore, Republican, Mr. Williams, Democrat, and other federal, state, and local officials to discuss transit issues. The meeting will be used as a springboard for ideas as varied as adding a "Purple" Line to connect the outermost stops of the subway system to looking at a dedicated stream of funding for Metro.
But Reed Boatright, Mr. Gilmores spokesman, said the governor is "not committed" to the notion of a summit, although he isnt ruling it out yet.
"He wasnt sure a summit of big guys was the right forum," Mr. Boatright said. "Hes not sure its not duplicative … hes mindful of the concerns that it could take on an extra layer of bureaucracy."
Mr. Boatright said the summit would be more "symbolic" than anything else, and that the "real nuts and bolts" of any discussion would come from talks between the jurisdictions staffs more than the chief executives.
When it comes to forging a unified front to get more money for Metro and other transit programs, Mr. Boatright said Mr. Gilmore believes the costs of expansions and other initiatives should be examined first before a grand vision is laid out.
"We have paid a lot of money for Metro, and I think it is premature to earmark anything, at the moment, above and beyond what the system is currently receiving," Mr. Boatright said.
In a statement, Mr. Williams said he welcomes Mr. Glendenings "call for a regional discussion of Metros next generation."
Mr. Williams statement said part of the discussion about the future of transit should focus on putting more money into places where the "employment and population centers" are and should not just look at expanding Metro and other transit systems.
The Techway Bridge, envisioned by Mr. Wolf and others and being studied by the Federal Highway Administration at Mr. Wolfs request, would link the high-tech sector located along the Dulles Corridor in Fairfax County and the bio-tech area of the Gaithersburg-Rockville area.
The Glendening administration and the Montgomery County Council and County Executive Douglas M. Duncan want the bridge — the fourth crossing between the two states — to connect at Point of Rocks in Maryland and U.S. 15 in Loudoun County, which is part of Mr. Wolfs district.
Mr. Wolf has said it doesnt make sense to put a bridge where Maryland officials want it because it is 39 miles from the Gaithersburg-Rockville area to Point of Rocks and it would defeat the purpose of making the drive quicker for commuters.
On Friday, the Techway Bridge will be the topic du jour for a group of public officials who will sit down to discuss options for the crossing between the American Legion Bridge and a small bridge at Point of Rocks.
When they convene, the group will have a declaration supporting a new bridge from technology industry organizations in Virginia and Maryland, which came together yesterday in a small conference room in a Bethesda hotel to ceremoniously take their stand.
"This is one of those issues that found us," said BioReliance Corp. Chief Executive Capers McDonald, who also serves as chairman of the Technology Council of Maryland.
* William Glanz contributed to this article.


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