Frederick County Legislator Says He Will Work To Secure Construction Funding For US 15 Widening Project

It’s once again the county’s number-one highway priority.

Frederick County Delegate Ken Kerr (Photo from Md. General Assembly)

Annapolis, Md (KM) One Frederick County lawmaker says he and his colleagues will continue working to secure construction funding for the US Route 15 project. Delegate Ken Kerr says he’s “cautiously optimistic” that state  money can be set aside for widening US Route 15 from Interstate 70 to Route 26.

The County Executive recently listed  that project the  top local transportation priority. “The County didn’t have it on its original transportation priorities because it was funded,” Kerr said. “But then the Governor put out his funding and he cut $3.3-billion of transportation funding, the county went back and edited its request and it back as our top priority.”

It had been the county’s top priority for many years prior to 2022.

The local Legislative Delegation approved the transportation priorities list during last Friday’s meeting. It will be sent to Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld.

Late last year, the Maryland Department of Transportation said the project was in danger of losing funding because the state had a structural deficit of $322-million, and cuts needed to be made. “Actually, we do have something like $7.8-million that will get us through the design phase  So it’s the money we need for this year to get us through the project,” Kerr says. “But we’d feel a whole lot more comfortable if the state had committed the full cost of the project.”

The project to widen US Route 15 by one lane in both directions from I-70 to Route 26 is estimated to cost $121-million.

Kerr says these improvements to US Route 15 are needed to help make that highway safer. “It’s in everybody’s recent memory about the tanker fire that resulted in the death of the truck driver, and the destruction of several homes there adjacent to Route 15,’ he said.

Along with  his fellow lawmakers, Kerr says he will be working to make sure the project doesn’t fall by the wayside. “People from the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees have been out. They understand the problem. State Highway has been out. They know it’s a priority. And we are not letting them forget it.   We’re keeping it front and center in their minds.,” he says.

By Kevin McManus