- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s population will grow by about 28,000 households in the next 10 years because of the Pentagon’s military base realignment, a Towson University report has estimated.

Towson’s research and consulting arm, RESI, says the realignment ordered last year could create 45,000 jobs for Maryland, according to a draft prepared for the state Department of Business and Economic Development.

Many of the jobs are expected to be high-paying civilian military and defense contractor positions moving to Aberdeen Proving Ground and to Fort Meade.

The report, obtained by the Baltimore Sun, also says the National Naval Medical Center in Montgomery County and Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County would experience a smaller net increase in jobs.

The base-related growth cited in the report includes about 7,200 jobs to serve the new defense workers and their families. The growth is expected to pour hundreds of millions of dollars annually into Maryland.

“It’s one of the largest postwar movements of jobs into Maryland,” said Daraius Irani, RESI’s director of applied economics.

He described it as a “sea change” for the state’s economy. Many of the jobs are expected to land in Maryland in the next three to five years.

The report forecasts that Harford and Anne Arundel counties, where the Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Meade are located, would see the biggest growth in jobs, population and tax revenues.

But the study suggests that the impact would be statewide, with many of the new workers likely to settle in Cecil County, Baltimore city and elsewhere.

Richard W. Naing, a Potomac-based developer, said the expected influx of base-related jobs is driving his plans to build 3,000 apartments and condominiums in the next five years.

The Towson analysts estimate the average wage of each new job to be about $65,000 and the income of each household moving to Maryland because of the military shifts to exceed $100,000 — well above last year’s estimated state median household income of $64,000.

“This is going to be keeping the growth going in Maryland,” said Richard Clinch, director of economic research for the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore.

But others see the growth as a challenge for a state wrestling with soaring housing costs, sprawling development, clogged highways and overcrowded schools.

“We don’t have a lot of extra capacity on our roads; we have a growing issue with our drinking water,” said Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director of 1000 Friends of Maryland, a group advocating compact development and land conservation.

J. Michael Hayes, director of military and federal affairs for the state’s economic development agency, said the study is part of an effort by the state to address the anticipated growth.

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