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Two I-95 travel plazas to be rebuilt in revenue-sharing plan
The Baltimore Sun ^ | January 23, 2012 | Candus Thomson

Posted on 01/23/2012 8:41:27 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Maryland has taken the first step toward replacing its two travel plazas on Interstate 95 north of Baltimore with expansive, airy welcome centers filled with amenities and operated by a company with years of experience serving travelers.

The two-year, $56 million project to rebuild Maryland House and Chesapeake House as a public-private partnership with Areas USA was approved Monday by the Maryland Transportation Authority board. The deal requires the approval of the Board of Public Works next month and review by the General Assembly.

The state would retain ownership and oversight of the plazas, while Areas USA would operate and maintain them through 2047. Areas USA would put up the $56 million, while the state estimates it would receive more than $400 million in revenue over the life of the contract.

"We think these will be landmark facilities. We think they will be extremely attractive and welcoming," said Beverley Swaim-Staley, the state transportation secretary.

Maryland House, which opened in 1963, handles about 2.8 million visitors each year. The Harford County building was expanded twice, the last time in 1990. The smaller Chesapeake House in Cecil County, which opened in 1975, handles about 2.1 million people annually.

Swaim-Staley said that the state has known for a decade that the plazas were "functionally obsolete," and that other Eastern Seaboard toll authorities were upgrading their facilities. Nearly two years ago, Maryland officials began looking for a partner, but the process bogged down and went nowhere. Then, last summer, officials began courting Areas USA.

If approved, the deal would be the second major public-private partnership entered into by the state; the first was the 2009 agreement between the Maryland Port Administration and Ports America to run the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore.

(Excerpt) Read more at baltimoresun.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: cecilcounty; chesaepeakehouse; harfordcounty; i95; kennedyhighway; marylandhouse; mta; p3; ppp; travelplazas

1 posted on 01/23/2012 8:41:39 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
I've done a lot of long distance driving on interstates and I have to say that late at night a bright, well lit, clean, spacious, modern (open) rest stop is a welcome sight.

I guess I'm ok with this partnership. Unless I'm missing something.

2 posted on 01/23/2012 8:46:45 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

What’s wrong with the old 1s? I like that they are federal-style buildings and not modern-utilitarian ugliness. Hope that’s not where they’re heading.

OTOH, I never understood why we needed to have 2 major “welcome” centers within several miles of each other on the same route, while virtually none exist elsewhere in the whole state.


3 posted on 01/23/2012 8:46:59 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
I think a huge retail opportunity is being missed on the nation's interstates. Most of the travel plazas are rather spartan, with the occasional Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and overpriced gift shops.

What they should do is build massive shopping malls with motels, movie theaters, full-service restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, casinos, etc. That way, people could drive across the country without ever having to leave the interstate system.

Huge opportunity being missed here and I'm totally serious. In fact, I'm thinking of raising some capital to do some of this myself. Call me an entrepreneur - I don't care. It's not a dirty word to me.

4 posted on 01/23/2012 8:47:30 PM PST by SamAdams76 (I am 9 days away from outliving Marty Feldman)
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To: Abundy; Albion Wilde; AlwaysFree; AnnaSASsyFR; bayliving; BFM; cindy-true-supporter; ...

Maryland “Freak State” PING!


5 posted on 01/23/2012 8:47:55 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Occupy DC General Assembly: We are Marxist tools. WE ARE MARXIST TOOLS!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Another money losing (for the taxpayers) public project


6 posted on 01/23/2012 8:52:35 PM PST by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: hinckley buzzard

So.. what is wrong with private enterprise?


7 posted on 01/23/2012 8:53:36 PM PST by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: hinckley buzzard
Codewords: "public-private partnership, i.e. Politician-private partnership" means the public is the loser. No competition is allowed. Politicians line their pockets. It is no coincidence that this is happening in Democrat dictatorship Maryland.

In contrast, "free enterprise" means that both the public and the entrepreneurial workers win.

8 posted on 01/23/2012 9:09:18 PM PST by iowamark
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

But....will they be putting in electrical charging stations....an inquiring mind wants to NO!


9 posted on 01/23/2012 9:17:42 PM PST by Puckster
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Lots of conservatives here in Annapolis....Naval Academy and all. The other thing about Maryland is that it is very strong economically. Many states are worse off then we are. Florida and South Carolina are two examples. I would not bash conservative Maryland if I were you. Well I am conservative and I know a few others......ok so the state is not a governing conservative state. It is still a great state with regards to economics.


10 posted on 01/23/2012 9:31:18 PM PST by napscoordinator (Newt MUST win the nomination to get rid of Romney and Obama....Dear God let November 2012 go our way)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Both those facilities are nice (enough) as-is. Why don’t they just put the money in the bank and remove the toll at the Susquehanna River crossing?


11 posted on 01/23/2012 9:32:06 PM PST by Mmmike
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

But....will they be putting in electrical charging stations....an inquiring mind wants to NO!


12 posted on 01/23/2012 9:54:10 PM PST by Puckster
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To: the OlLine Rebel

People coming from the north stop at the Chesapeake stop, and from the south at Maryland house. I think either one would be overwhelmed if there was only one.


13 posted on 01/23/2012 10:32:52 PM PST by Explorer89 (And now, let the wild rumpus start!!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

After all, they need an excuse to increase the toll to get over the Susquehanna river.

Maybe they’ll expand on the great success of the ICC and make all of 95 a toll road.


14 posted on 01/24/2012 12:43:21 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good-Pope Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley
Maryland is THE Freak state. Because the idiot DIMs continue to spend like there is no tomorrow, they are looking for any excuse to raise taxes, fees and tolls. The moron governor omally threw $770 million of the highway "trust" fund down a "black" hole and now needs to raise taxes because there is none left in that fund. Sheesh!
15 posted on 01/24/2012 4:46:29 AM PST by hal ogen (1st Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: Explorer89
The Maryland House. This facility is located in the median of I-95 and is accessible to both northbound and southbound traffic. It is approximately 24 miles north of Baltimore City in Harford County, Maryland. Food and fuel are available to the motorist at this location.

Chesapeake House Welcome Center. This welcome center is also located in the median of I-95 and is in Cecil County, Md., approximately fourteen miles north of the Maryland House and twelve miles south of the Delaware line. Food, fuel, and travel information services are available. Ph. (410) 287-2313.

http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/ADA/SHA%20Welcome%20Centers

16 posted on 01/24/2012 4:53:21 AM PST by MD Expat in PA
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To: the OlLine Rebel

That part of I-95 used to be a toll road - they had a captive audience.


17 posted on 01/24/2012 4:58:46 AM PST by patton ("Je pense donc je suis," - My Horse.)
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To: MD Expat in PA

ETA, I think both being located in the median are accessible to both north and south bound traffic. And I do know having lived in that area, that entering from and exiting to the fast lane causes problems. These centers are also not far from Aberdeen and Belair, both accessible and conveniently located right off I-95 and both having a lot of restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, etc. and cheaper and nicer than what you find at the “Welcome Centers”


18 posted on 01/24/2012 4:59:14 AM PST by MD Expat in PA
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To: MD Expat in PA

Yes, you can stop at either one going either direction, but if you gots to go pee-pee, you stop at the first one you reach :)

Purely anecdotal, but in my commute, I always made damned sure to not be in the left lane (where maryland house merges in) when i was heading north. Too many people unfamiliae with a high speed merge coming to a stop, and it was usually a pretty big flood of cars. Southbound was never as much of a problem since everyone had already stopped at chesapeake.


19 posted on 01/24/2012 5:45:10 AM PST by Explorer89 (And now, let the wild rumpus start!!)
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To: MD Expat in PA

I replied right from my ping......obviously we agree about merging into the hammer lane........sheesh, the things i have seen there.


20 posted on 01/24/2012 5:48:51 AM PST by Explorer89 (And now, let the wild rumpus start!!)
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To: hinckley buzzard

What a waste of money! I routinely stop at these “Welcome Centers,” and they are perfectly fine as they are. One of the two of them is actually QUITE nice.


21 posted on 01/24/2012 5:50:33 AM PST by dangus
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To: iowamark

Yes, that $400 million means that Roy Rogers is going to cost $5 a wing, and a Pretzel $8.

OTOH, if the state of Maryland figures it can do this instead of collecting the $400 million in taxes, well I guess that’s up to the Maryland residents. I can always pack my lunch. But it does make the term, “welcome center” a bit ironic.


22 posted on 01/24/2012 5:54:17 AM PST by dangus
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To: Puckster

I imagine that the cost of electrical charging stations is pretty close to a per-unit charge. If so, I think by all means they should build a unit or two. This is the most heavily travelled corridor (DC to Boston) in the nation, and I’d think that they would have the demand. But I’d share a suspicion that the state would want to create some kind of grand showcase, using it as a way of pitching e-cars.


23 posted on 01/24/2012 5:58:38 AM PST by dangus
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To: Explorer89
I replied right from my ping......obviously we agree about merging into the hammer lane........sheesh, the things i have seen there.

Until they recently redesigned and rebuilt the I-95 – 695 (Baltimore Beltway) interchange it was rated as one of the most dangerous in the country. To go north from the east Beltway onto I-95 North, you’d have to be in the fast lane of 695 and then enter I-95 in the fast lane and if you wanted to get off at the next exit, White Marsh (a major shopping area), you’d have to get over four lanes of fast moving traffic in a very short distance. Oh, the crazy things I saw there.

Back when, the part of I-95 where the Chesapeake House and Maryland House is located was a toll road so getting on and off the highway was not so easy. That and Belair and Aberdeen and Churchville were little hick towns. Today there are lots of places to get off I-95 in that area if you need a rest stop or gas.

There are many restaurants, gas stations, hotels, etc. right off those exits now.

There’s no good reason to even have Chesapeake House and Maryland House anymore, live alone spend the money (tax payer money) to upgrade them.

24 posted on 01/24/2012 6:02:49 AM PST by MD Expat in PA
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To: MD Expat in PA

I took 895, and before the costruction, had to make sure I was in the right lane, or I had a beotch of a time getting out of the left lane which became the turn lane for 695w. Have not been through for a year and a half, so it will be interesting to see the changes.


25 posted on 01/24/2012 6:12:05 AM PST by Explorer89 (And now, let the wild rumpus start!!)
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To: Puckster

Of course they will, eveyone wants to sit at a rest area for 6 hours waiting to charge the car to get to the next rest area.

I’m thinking of installing a small door on my car with a female receptacle so I can park free at the primo space and plug in my “Converted to electric” car.


26 posted on 01/24/2012 9:18:38 AM PST by cyclotic (People who live within their means are increasingly being forced to pay for people who didn't.)
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To: Explorer89

I commute past Maryland House every day. I’m very wary of the semi’s lining up to take a break. Semi’s are not allowed in far left lane ever unless for egress so it’s unusual territory for them.

BTW, there are several decent geocaches at Maryland House.


27 posted on 01/24/2012 9:26:37 AM PST by cyclotic (People who live within their means are increasingly being forced to pay for people who didn't.)
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To: dangus
“But I’d share a suspicion that the state would want to create some kind of grand showcase, using it as a way of pitching e-cars.”

Suspect not, know that it is exactly that. Batteries are decades away from longevity, durability and cost......the green movement stepped into it big time. Pushing alternative to replace primary is idiotic. Alternative has it's place maybe at my house as a cost saver, but not as a reliable primary source.

Increasing energy efficiency has always been the direction to go, but as the cost of stupidity, a la, banning incandescent bulbs, while ignoring the environmental hazards of fluorescents.

AGW has instituted a hastiness in decision making that we'll be paying for decades.

28 posted on 01/24/2012 7:11:15 PM PST by Puckster
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To: Explorer89

From the south?

It’s 30 mi from the north-east state line!

If it’s a “welcome” center, it’s useless by then, from the south!

Even if they were just simple rest stops, they’re too close together (some 20mi) while no others exist for miles.


29 posted on 01/24/2012 8:24:08 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: MD Expat in PA

What recent redesign and build?

AFAIK that exact interchange (eastBOUND beltway) has been unchanged for 25+ years.

(I also never found moving over to White Marsh hard - unless maybe you’re talking AT rush hour. Similar situation, much worse, definitely shorter, is beltway to 83 to Timonium Rd.)


30 posted on 01/24/2012 9:05:04 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel

Too true, don’t know what bright bulb decided to put them so close together. There isn’t another stop until about 20 mins south of 695. And actually pulling off one of the exits for gas is a nightmare, since between balt and dc is so congested. First commuter rule: always gas up at home before getting onto the 95 system. No easy gas stations quick on/off the highway.

I think Chesapeake house is only about 10 mins south of DE.


31 posted on 01/24/2012 10:10:14 PM PST by Explorer89 (And now, let the wild rumpus start!!)
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To: Explorer89
Ten miles or so south of the DE line is about right.

Delaware just rebuilt their only rest area on I-95 (which is probably about 5 miles above the state line) and it looks nice.

PA rebuilt theirs on I-95 which is just past the DE/PA state line.

Guess MOM doesn't want the other states to have newer toys than he has.

32 posted on 01/25/2012 8:04:46 PM PST by Abby4116
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To: the OlLine Rebel
What recent redesign and build?

I-95/I-695 Interchange


33 posted on 01/27/2012 3:13:32 AM PST by MD Expat in PA
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