Commentary

printed 10/21/2021

Once again, state transportation department officials said what they had to say to the Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday, and the commissioners responded in kind, just as they have been for the past several years.

There’s a sameness to these sessions that brings them closer to looking completely pointless, despite the good intentions of both parties.

Department of Transportation officials have to make the rounds of local governments every so often, and they have to have something to report, even if it’s roughly what was said the last time. Meanwhile, local officials must continue to plead for the same changes and improvements because that’s what their constituents want.

In Worcester County’s case, the greatest needs continue to be additional lanes for Route 90 and Route 589. The traffic situations on these main arteries aren’t getting any better, and, as County Commissioner Jim Bunting said Tuesday, one reason for that is the explosive growth next door in coastal Sussex County.

That, obviously, is beyond Maryland’s control (it’s looking like the State of Delaware doesn’t have much control either these days).

The greater problem for Worcester, however, is more fundamental: the state doesn’t have enough highway money to spread around to jurisdictions with small voting populations.

As bad as residents might want highway improvements, and as much as this area needs something to be done to address concerns about ingress and egress during times of emergency, we just don’t have the political horsepower to force the issue.

One thing that could make a difference in the quest for greater budgetary recognition of these local needs is if Maryland-based nonresident property owners could be brought on board as well.

Until such time that these people start beating on their legislators back in the suburban counties about improving access to their second homes and investment properties, it looks as if Worcester by itself must continue to wait until the money for major projects somehow magically appears.

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