In his own words: Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted in Other Posts with tags on January 19, 2009 by Kai Hagen

It is a very nice bit of timing that Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on the day before the Presidential Inauguration this year.

The federal holiday in King’s honor was signed into law in 1983, twenty years after his most well-known speech (commonly known as the “I Have a Dream” speech). The holiday was first observed in 1986, though it was not until 2000 that all fifty states officially observed it for the first time.

Forty-five years after that important and inspirational speech, about forty years after King was assassinated, twenty-five years after the holiday was signed into law, we observe and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day the day before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

Below I’ve posted the complete text of the 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. Below that is a YouTube video of the entire speech (approximately 17 minutes).

And, just below that is another, shorter YouTube video (approximately three minutes) of the end of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech, made the day before he was assassinated.

martin-luther-king-jr1

“I Have a Dream”

(Delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

———-

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech

Appearance on WFMD about the new single stream recycling program

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Frederick County BOCC, Incinerator (WTE) with tags , , , on January 16, 2009 by Kai Hagen

I was invited to speak with Bob Miller today, during his regular morning radio program on WFMD, the “Morning News Express.”

The primary subject of the conversation was Frederick County’s new single stream recycling program (along with a few general recycling matters, and a brief exchange about the proposed “Waste-to-Energy” incinerator).

If you’d like to listen, go to http://www.wfmd.com/cc-common/podcast.html and scroll to “County Commissioner Kai Hagen talked with Bob about the counties single stream recycling program.”

mnemain_04

New Report – “Where Do We Grow From Here?”

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Planning and Development with tags , , , on January 13, 2009 by Kai Hagen

The Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development in Maryland just released a new report, entitled “Where Do We Grow From Here?”

From the task force’s home page on the website for the Maryland Department of Planning:

The Task Force presented its report to Governor O’Malley at his “Smart, Green & Growing” press conference on January 12, 2009. The report, entitled “Where Do We Grow from Here?,” presents an assessment of current conditions in the State and outlines over 50 recommendations for furthering smart, sustainable growth in Maryland.

“Maryland has long been a national leader in progressive land use policy, from the creation of the first state planning commission in 1933 to the well-known Smart Growth legislation of 1997. More than a decade after the advent of Smart Growth, however, we continue to face significant land use challenges,” said Jon Laria, Chair of the task force. “Maryland is a wonderful place to live, but expected population growth promises increased pressure on farmlands, forests, and waterways, including our precious Chesapeake Bay and the window of opportunity to confront and solve these challenges is shrinking.”

Click here to view or download the report (as a 5mb pdf file). And click here to view the appendices.

The report is broad in its scope, but includes a great deal of excellent and fairly detailed information, and an ambitious list of relatively specific recommendations.

The report is not short. But it well written, and very well organized, with discreet sections, and an ample offering of informative, engaging and attractive photographs, maps and graphics. If you have the interest and time, it’s worth reading cover to cover. But even if you are not so inclined, I encourage you to browse the document, and read what most catches your attention, or, at least, consider reading the executive summary and the summary of recommendations.

report_cover_web

I don’t agree with each and every one of the recommendations exactly as presented. And I’ve heard others express sincere concerns about the degree to which it reflects or is part of a trend toward greater state intrusion into local land use planning (and authority). But I’m not going to delve into those concerns and controversies here and now.

Rather, I hope you’ll take some time to review the report and recommendations without filtering it through my criticisms.

Waiting for snow…

Posted in Nature with tags , , on January 2, 2009 by Kai Hagen

It’s January 2nd. Astronomically speaking, we’re not quite two weeks into winter – two weeks since the days started getting longer again. But meteorological winter, which spans December, January, and February (the coldest three month period of the calendar), is more than a month old now.

Certainly, we’ve been seeing reports of record snows in other parts of the country, from the northeast to the Rockies to the west coast, including significant accumulations in places that rarely get that sort of snow. But not here.

Almost nothing. A few dustings that disappeared quickly, and that’s it. Plenty of rain, though, and a bit of ice.

Now, I realize that there’s no shortage of people around these parts who would be perfectly happy if it didn’t snow at all, even though the alternative isn’t going to be picnic weather.

Not me.

So, I’m pulling another old column off the shelf and posting it below. It was originally written deeper into winter, and after a good spell of real snow (“good” is the operative word there…for me). The circumstances are different, but the column fits just as well today. I thought I would share it with you…and cross my fingers that we get a taste of winter wonderland sometime soon.

———-

On thin ice: Hooray for the snow
http://2006.kaihagen.com/Kai/columns/030221.html

Frederick News Post
February 21, 2003

by Kai Hagen

At the risk of upsetting snow-weary friends and neighbors this week, I have to confess that I really, really love snow.

I always have.

As a boy, I could spend hours watching the snow through the upstairs window. At night, I would sit in the dark and watch the snow fall through the streetlights and sycamore trees. In a good snow, I would even go out from time to time to wipe off part of the hood of the car, so I could see how fast the snow was accumulating. And, no matter how much it snowed, I was always disappointed when it stopped.

Friends have only half-jokingly said I might have a disorder of some sort. Others have wondered if it is genetic, suggesting I just can’t help it. Some simply find my enthusiasm irritating, as if rooting for snow, and then more snow, was like being a fan of floods and fires and earthquakes. I prefer to think of it as a harmless obsession.

Of course, kids love snow. And while a cynic might suggest that’s because a good snow means a day or two off from school, I remember snow days as outdoor days. Days full of sledding, snowmen, snow forts and snowball fights. And hot chocolate when it was all over.

That was before cable television and home video games. But the scenes at local hills and parks around Frederick County this week make it clear that snow hasn’t lost its magic…for kids, anyway.

There is no denying, however, that snow loses much of its appeal for most people as they get older. That might have something to do with having to shovel the snow or scrape snow and ice off the car or commute to work in the snow. It might be because of cancelled events or delayed flights. Could be as simple as negotiating slushy curbsides and slippery sidewalks.

Snow can definitely be inconvenient.

A lot of people who would just as soon keep snow confined to a dusting on Christmas morning, paintings of winter wonderlands, and what they shake up in snow globes.

I’m not one of them.

Rather than diminishing with age, my enthusiasm for snow has grown.

Perhaps I would feel differently if I’d grown up in Vermont or lived in Buffalo. But I grew up down the road in Washington, where snow wasn’t frequent enough to be boring, and didn’t stick around long enough to get old. From Thanksgiving to the end of February, I wanted it to snow. Winter rains were depressing because they were just wasted chances to have more snow.

It is said you should be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it. And that is pretty much what happened when I went off to college…in Minnesota! The manufacturers of car batteries used to go there to test batteries and it was the ideal place to test my affection for winter and snow. It hardly seemed a coincidence when my first northern winter turned out to be the coldest in decades.

That record-breaking January, when the temperature reached thirty-five degrees below zero and everyone went about their normal routine, I realized I was in for a genuine adventure.

In the end, I experienced thirteen Minnesota winters without losing my enthusiasm for all things snow. Quite the contrary, actually. Like a botanist moving to the rainforest, or a marine biologist moving to the Great Barrier Reef, I learned there was a lot more variety to it than I had imagined. A real winter wasn’t just a somewhat colder and longer version of what I already knew.

More than just a passing season, winter in Minnesota was a place. It was a place with its own special beauty.

It was also a place where softball fields became hockey rinks and hiking trails become groomed cross country ski trails. Where blue lakes dotted with sailboats became white and windswept villages of ice fishing cabins.

I used to think people in Scandinavia and Canada and Minnesota were outdoors people because northern summers are short. That warm days were too precious to waste. There might be some truth to that, but there is more to it.

Winter in Minnesota was simply too long to wait it out inside, as one might here, and too intense to ignore. Instead, winter was celebrated with January parades and outdoor festivals and winter sports. Except for the fact that I’d never put on skis and considered skating a success if I didn’t hurt myself, I fit right in.

Nevertheless, even most Minnesotans will admit that winter can be too long, that you can have too much of a good thing. The day after a mid-April blizzard would not be a good time to wax poetic about snow there. I hope I am not on thin ice waxing nostalgic about winter after a mid-February snowstorm here.

I don’t want to have Minnesota winters here. When March arrives, I’ll be ready for spring. I’m looking forward to emerging wildflowers and blossoming trees. I’ll be thrilled to hear the first wood frogs and spring peepers and songbirds. But the alternative to snow in February is cold rain and bare trees, not short sleeves and picnics.

I like living in a place with four roughly equal seasons. I just want to get my fair share of winter out of the winter season. Not surprisingly, I was happy to see the snow falling last weekend.

But I’ll admit I was even more pleased to get so much snow. Snow is nice. But a lot of snow is more than just a lot of snow. It changes everything for a few days. A big snow alters the landscape. It forces us out of our routines. It insists we take a break. It’s an adventure.

Most of us can go about our daily lives through heat waves and cold snaps and droughts and almost any other weather. But a big snow or blizzard is like a thunderstorm that doesn’t go away as soon as the sun comes out.

We can’t change it and we can’t ignore it.

So we might as well enjoy it.

Like kids.

Night sky a treasure to preserve

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Environment_national_global, Nature with tags on December 29, 2008 by Kai Hagen

Late one night this past week, I was reminded of one of the genuine benefits of living in one of the more remote parts of Frederick County. The night was clear and cold, there was no moon, and the dark sky was filled with stars.

Of course, “remote” and dark are relative terms here. Nothing is so remote and dark in Frederick County that the night sky can compare to the stunning starscape that is a frequent as clear skies in some places – in a diminishing number of places, unfortunately.

With that crisp night fresh in my mind, I’m posting a column I wrote about the subject a few years ago, followed by a few excellent links for those of you who might want to explore the issue a bit more.

———-

Night sky a treasure to preserve
http://2006.kaihagen.com/Kai/columns/030418.html

Frederick News Post
April 18, 2003

by Kai Hagen

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

When Joni Mitchell wrote “Big Yellow Taxi” 30 years ago, she managed to capture a big idea in a few simple lines.

“They took all the trees and put ’em in a tree museum.
And they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em .”

The trees lost served as a poetic metaphor for the destruction of natural places and the loss of natural beauty in our lives. But Mitchell probably never imagined it might apply to something as immutable and beyond our reach as the night sky itself.

Dramatic change can come quickly, even all at once. More often, however, it seems big changes come gradually, a little bit here, a little bit there. So slowly it is almost imperceptible. When that is so, perhaps it would be more accurate to say “that you don’t know what you had when it’s gone.”

So it has been with many things. Changes happen over the years, over decades, over generations. And often, we don’t even know what we are missing.

For many years, Frederick was small enough and far enough from big cities to provide something special – even stunning and inspirational – with only an upward gaze on a clear night. But the Washington and Baltimore areas have gotten bigger and closer and brighter, and Frederick and other towns in the county have gotten bigger and brighter, too.

We are losing – have lost – something people for almost all of time have taken for granted. Other than astronomers – and a few poets – most of us probably haven’t given much thought to light pollution. But, children in Frederick County are well on the way to joining the three-fourths of Americans who grow up without being able to see the Milky Way. The wonders of fireworks and laser light shows, and the glow of television sets and video games, are replacing the natural wonders of a star-filled night sky for children today

We are all-too-familiar with the concept of air pollution or water pollution. And, though we might disagree about some of the particulars, virtually everyone supports efforts to protect our air and water, and ourselves, from those sources of pollution. We’ve also become familiar with the notion of noise pollution. We recognize that noise can be a public nuisance, even a health hazard. We put mufflers on motors. We build sound barriers along highways. We establish noise limits in workplaces and parks and neighborhoods. And so on.

We ought pay attention to the issue of light pollution, too.

Light pollution is the upward and outward distribution of light where it isn’t intended or isn’t needed. Light pollution can be the glare of direct light that makes it hard to see or causes discomfort. Some light pollution can be described as light trespass, which refers to light shining on neighbors when that light is intrusive or objectionable. Sky glow refers to the overall glow that comes from towns, cities, and other developed areas.

It’s not simply a matter of aesthetics and star-gazing, either. A growing body of scientific research is revealing that light pollution, or the lack of darkness, is associated with a wide range of other significant problems affecting natural systems and human health, too many to describe here.

But there’s good news about light pollution.

Because light pollution is really a symptom of waste, most of the solutions to the problem make good sense for many reasons. It’s a win-win situation. Perhaps as much as a third of all the light we produce is complete waste. We are paying to shine lights we want where it doesn’t serve our purposes. In addition to reducing light pollution, using more efficient lighting reduces energy consumption. That reduces the direct cost of lighting, as well as the consumption of other resources, like coal and oil, and the generation of all the air and water pollution that comes with it.

Separately, it might be a good idea to ask how much of the light we use is really necessary, even when we produce and use it efficiently. For example, do we need bright security lights on all night where motion-sensitive lights will do? Do we really need to illuminate gas stations and convenience stores at levels that are 3 to 10 times the levels recommended by Illuminating Engineering Society of North America?

We are fortunate that light pollution is a lot different from PCB pollution in our rivers or CFC pollution in the upper atmosphere. When we use lights more efficiently, or turn them off altogether, the light pollution ends. There is nothing left to clean up.

Even if and when we change all the activities and reduce the pollution that has diminished the Chesapeake Bay, it will take generations to restore something resembling what was once there.

But the starry sky is still there, unchanged. We just can’t see it.

So, when you are fortunate enough to be in a place where it is still dark enough to see the entire sky shimmering with stars, think how much less beauty there would be in Frederick County without it.

usa_at_night_web

A Google search on “light pollution” will provide a long list of links. Here are three:

International Dark-Sky Association
http://www.darksky.org/

SkyandTelescope.com – Saving Dark Skies
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/resources/darksky
including a short piece about Jennifer Barlow, a “Dark-sky Devotee” who, as a high-school student in Virginia, decided to do something about light pollution:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/resources/darksky/3307451.html

In November, the National Geographic magazine published an article entitled: “Our Vanishing Night”
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text
…which included a nice photo gallery:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/richardson-photography

“Of all the pollutions we face, light pollution is perhaps the most easily remedied.”
– Verlyn Klinkenborg,

Seasons Greetings from Kai, Kirsten, Tor and Leif

Posted in Family and Friends with tags on December 25, 2008 by Kai Hagen

Seasons Greetings 2008

I-270 / US 15 Multi-modal Corridor Study update

Posted in Frederick County BOCC with tags , on December 24, 2008 by Kai Hagen

Last week (December 18th), at the monthly joint meeting of the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners and Municipalities, staff from the Maryland State Highway Administration provided a “Project Status Briefing” about the “I-270 / US 15 Multi-modal Corridor Study” which covers a 30 miles stretch from Shady Grove Road (Rockville) to Biggs Ford Road (north of Frederick).

The update flowed from a detailed Powerpoint presentation which included an overview of the options being considered.

The good news is that the planning process continues for long awaited improvements to Interstate 270, and there’s been some progress. The bad news is that new lanes to alleviate congestion are still a number of years and a few billion dollars away.

As most Frederick County residents know, the presentation noted that “the I-270/US 15 Corridor provides an essential connection between the Washington DC metropolitan area and central and western Maryland.  It is an essential corridor for carrying local and long distance trips, both within and beyond the corridor.”

A key part of the presentation was a look at the varied options and alternatives still on the table, from “travel demand management” to bus rapid transit to express toll lanes. As outlined in the presentation, there will be public outreach, with a number of public meetings, in the spring of 2009, with a selection of the “preferred alternative” expected next fall.

I’ve posted a few helpful links below for those who would like more information, including a copy of the powerpoint presentation and video of the presentation and discussion. I’ve also included the text of today’s Gazette article about the meeting.

multi-modal_study_area

 

 

County Transportation Planning – State Highway Projects Page:
http://www.co.frederick.md.us/index.asp?nid=3085

That page includes these two links:

I-270 / US 15 Multi-modal Corridor Study (web page)
http://www.i270multimodalstudy.com/

and:

I-270 / US 15 Multi-modal Study Briefing Slides – 12/18/08 (5mb pdf file)
http://www.co.frederick.md.us/documents/Planning/Transportation/I_270_US15_StudySlides.PDF

The presentation was listed on our agenda this way:

U.S.15/I-270 Multimodal Corridor Study Project Briefing – Alternatives Analysis and Environmental Assessment –Russ Anderson, Maryland State Highway Administration and Brian Horn, RKK Engineering

You can watch the presentation and discussion via streaming video on the county’s website. Go here:
http://frederick.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2
…and scroll down to “BOCC Municipalities Meeting 12/18/08”

Or go directly to that video here (and the agenda):
http://frederick.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1044

—————————

Like Friday evening rush hour, project to improve I-270, U.S. Route 15 creeps forward
State official updates Frederick County, town leaders on 14-year interstate study

http://www.gazette.net/stories/12212008/frednew75827_32477.shtml

Gazette
Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008

by Sherry Greenfield

When state and federal transportation experts began working up a plan to ease congestion on Interstate 270 and U.S. Route 15 in Frederick County, Seinfeld was the most popular show on television, AOL was a curiosity, and O.J. Simpson led police on a notorious slow-speed chase.

The study has moved along at a similar pace, though state officials on Thursday updated Frederick County officials on its status.

It’s termed the Multi-Modal Corridor Study, and its purpose is to improve a 28-mile stretch of highway from Biggs Ford Road north of Frederick city to Shady Grove Road in Montgomery County.

But as highway officials study, debate and examine how best to improve driving conditions, motorists continue to experience a daily commute on a clogged highway.

“This thing has been going on most of my life or at least most of my working life,” Board President Jan H. Gardner (D) said Thursday at a briefing on the study. “It is frustrating. It is a very long process. We looked at alternatives in 2002 and here we are six years later and we’re still looking at alignments.”

Since 1994, the Maryland State Highway Administration and the Federal Mass Transit Administration have been looking at options to relieve congestion and improve safety conditions in anticipation of projected growth along the corridor over the next 20 years.

But with a $3.8 billion price tag, the project has been slow, and despite a handful of small projects, construction has been non-existent.

Russ Anderson, the state’s newly appointed manager of the project, came to brief elected officials on Thursday on the direction of the study.

Public hearings will be held in May and June of next year, Anderson said, and state highway officials will pick an option in the fall.

New to the study are more lanes on Route 15 from Interstate 70 to Biggs Ford Road, including general purpose lanes, carpool lanes and express toll lanes, whereby motorists will pay a fee.

The lanes would be separate from the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) or carpool lanes and the general use lanes. Money would be collected, but without the use of a tollbooth. Instead, the collection would be done electronically with transponders, a small electronic device mounted to the interior windshield of the vehicle.

The transponder emits a signal picked up by an antenna in the special toll lane. Within seconds, equipment in the toll lane reads the transponder and deducts the appropriate fee amount from the special account the driver has set up.

The money would pay for road improvements, Anderson said.

Other improvements include bus transit along Route 270 and light rail from the Shady Grove Metro Station to Clarksburg.

Also proposed are new larger lanes to merge on and off Route 15 in Frederick County at the Jefferson Street, Rosemont Avenue, 7th Street and Motter Avenue interchanges.

But even as the state picks its final option, design and construction will not come soon. “Design will depend on funding,” Anderson said. “We’re funded through planning, but there is no funding for design.”

There is also no funding for construction.