Pigs to the Trough

From the Baltimore Sun:

Looking to attract a share of the defense workers expected to stream into Maryland in the next few years with the military base realignment, Baltimore officials urged the state yesterday to expand commuter rail service, upgrade a key highway gateway to the city and help with neighborhood revitalization.

Mayor Sheila Dixon presented the city’s “BRACtion” plan to Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who chairs Maryland’s base realignment subcabinet, during a meeting yesterday morning at City Hall. Brown and a contingent of city and state officials later toured parts of the city, including Baltimore Community College, a development on Clipper Park Road and a stretch of newly rehabbed rowhouses in East Baltimore.

While the share of new residents moving to Baltimore from soon-to-be closed military bases in Northern Virginia and New Jersey is projected to number only about 2,500 of the 28,000 projected households moving to Maryland in the next five years, Dixon has seized on the opportunity to jump-start much-needed upgrades to transportation and housing development infrastructure.

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This is hilarious. “Sooey” has been called and all the hogs are heading for the BRAC trough.

If ever a project has been over-touted it is the miniscule relocation of a few thousand civil servants to Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Meade, MD. According to the Lieutenant Governor’s own documents the numbers of workers moving in will be an extremely small percentage of the workforce.

You can make the inferences you wish from the categories “indirect (all others)” and “induced” but if you have any experience at all with BRAC you’ll quickly discover that they can best be lumped into “pie in the sky.”

At the rate Baltimore is shedding population, 20,000 have left since 2000, it should have more than adequate infrastructure to accomodate any BRAC gains.

The award for candor has to go, however, who answered the question that had to be on the minds of the BRAC subcabinet group as they visited Baltimore, “how stupid to they think we are?”

Anna Custer, executive director of LIVE Baltimore, a nonprofit city group, said her group has begun outreach to prospective residents and has hired a BRAC relocation manager to oversee the process.

“We were really excited that the lieutenant governor and the Cabinet secretaries got to come out and see the city beyond the Inner Harbor,” Custer said. They’ll say, ‘Did you see how big that porch was? I didn’t know that neighborhood existed.’ It’s all about those ‘ah ha’ moments that make the difference. When you have conversations with people, the lieutenant governor can say, I saw it with my own eyes, Baltimore City is definitely a possibility for BRAC folks.”

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