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For Immediate Release:

 

MDOT OFFICIALS MET WITH BALTIMORE COUNTY
AS PART OF ANNUAL STATEWIDE TOUR

TO DISCUSS TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES

Transportation Secretary Announced Local Grants and Key Project Updates

October 20, 2016

(Towson, MD) – Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn today met with Baltimore County officials to discuss the Draft FY 2017 – FY 2022 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP), which details the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) draft six-year capital budget.  Today’s meeting was part of MDOT’s annual tour of 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City to update local officials and the public on the Hogan Administration’s $14.4 billion investment over the next six years in transit, highways, Motor Vehicle Administration facilities, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall).  Officials also discussed the Maryland Transportation Authority’s $1.99 billion additional investments in Maryland’s toll roads and bridges.

“The annual CTP Tour is a great opportunity for us to connect with our customers and to discuss their transportation priorities,” said Secretary Rahn.  “We are committed to continuing an active dialogue with our customers throughout the year.”

MDOT Team members representing the agency’s six business units were:  Secretary Rahn, Planning and Capital Programming Director Heather Murphy and Regional Planner Tyson Byrne from The Secretary’s Office; Administrator Greg Johnson and Deputy Administrator Greg Slater from the State Highway Administration (SHA); Administrator Chrissy Nizer from the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA); Administrator Paul Comfort, Planning and Programming Director Kevin Quinn and Local Transit Support Director Beth Kreider from the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA); Martin State Airport Director Al Pollard from the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA); Deputy Executive Director Kathy Broadwater from the Maryland Port Administration; and Executive Director Milt Chaffee and Chief Administrative Officer Percy Dangerfield from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).

Secretary Rahn outlined key updates on the transportation investments.  Statewide, there are more construction projects underway now than in Maryland’s history, with 1,073 projects totaling $7.9 billion across MDOT from investments in MVA, transit, highways and toll facilities to key projects at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and BWI Marshall.  In addition to these projects, Secretary Rahn announced funding for Baltimore County’s local priorities, including: $26.3 million in Highway User Revenues for the county for FY 2017 – FY 2022; $609,444 in FY 2017 highway safety grants for law enforcement and safety advocates; and key capital and operating transit grants, including $729,000 to support the County Ride bus service and the Rideshare program and $528,000 to support five non-profit organizations that transport seniors and people with disabilities in Baltimore County.

Secretary Rahn also touted the latest records at the Port of Baltimore, including the Port being #1 in the nation for autos and roll on/roll off machinery and welcoming the first big container ship from Evergreen to come through the newly expanded Panama Canal.  He also named key Baltimore County companies that count on the Port to conduct business here in Maryland, including:  LaFarge Building Materials, Cargill, Hydro Aluminum, McCormick and Fila.

At BWI Marshall, he highlighted steadily growing passenger traffic with new airlines and service to new domestic and international markets.  In 2015, BWI Marshall set a new all-time annual record for passenger traffic with nearly 24 million passengers, and it has seen strong growth continue with 13-straight monthly passenger records from June 2015 to July 2016.  The D/E Connector is a key capital project that is being delivered on a fast-track to meet the growing demand for international service.

On the highway side, he outlined MDOT’s great progress on Governor Larry Hogan’s commitment to fix the 69 structurally deficient bridges in the state system identified in 2015:  15 are complete and open to traffic, another 15 are under construction, and another 25 have been funded for construction.  He also provided an update on important major projects and system preservation projects in Baltimore County.

SHA is about 25 percent complete on the $104 million project to widen the I-695 outer loop between US 40 and Frederick Road in Catonsville.  The project is scheduled to be complete in summer 2019.  Also, crews are more than 60 percent complete on the $50 million project to replace three bridges on the I-695 inner loop over Benson Avenue, Leeds Avenue/US 1 and Herbert Run.  Completion is planned for summer 2017.  This fall, SHA began a $2.8 million safety and resurfacing project on I-195, the main road into BWI Marshall. This project is just getting underway with completion anticipated fall 2017.

In early 2017, MDTA will begin on I-95 north of the Fort McHenry Tunnel to reconfigure the roadway to provide four continuous lanes in each direction.  This permanent change will accommodate additional traffic on I-95 while Canton Viaduct on I-895 is being replaced.  The Canton Viaduct Rehabilitation Project will begin in early 2019.  The entire bridge north of the Baltimore Harbor Tunnels on I-895 will be replaced.

In addition to the transit grants being provided to Baltimore County, Secretary Rahn provided an update on BaltimoreLink.  This Saturday mark’s the one-year anniversary of Governor Larry Hogan’s announcing BaltimoreLink, a transformative transit plan that will connect all Baltimore transit options into one true transit network.  BaltimoreLink will deliver an interconnected transit system by:  redesigning the entire local and express bus systems throughout the Baltimore region and adding 12 new high-frequency, color-coded bus routes that improve connections to jobs and to MARC, Metro Subway and Light Rail.

In addition to MTA’s more than $800 million annual operating budget, BaltimoreLink harnesses the value of $795 million key capital investments to upgrade the system with:  real-time location and arrival information, 172 new buses, new Metro Subway vehicles and signaling system, and mid-life overhaul of the entire Light Rail fleet and MARC bi-level railcars.  BaltimoreLink also adds key tools to truly integrate all the transit options into one interconnected system with:  a transfer hub network, dedicated bus lanes, transit signal prioritization, new bicycle amenities, access to car-sharing options and much more.

The Transportation Secretary highlighted the three new Express BusLinks with suburb-to-suburb service that began in June in Baltimore County, including:  Old Court Metro Subway Station to BWI Marshall MARC Train Station; Owings Mills to Towson; and Towson to White Marsh.  These direct suburb-to-suburb connections are already improving access to regional job centers as well as speeding the ride for many commuters.

“Baltimore County residents are already reaping the benefits of BaltimoreLink,” said Secretary Rahn.   “The new Express BusLink from White Marsh to Towson cuts Baltimore County residents’ commute in half from two hours down to one.”

Express BusLink is just the beginning.  On October 3, MTA also launched the first-time ever commuter service from Baltimore City to Aberdeen Proving Ground with a stop at White Marsh to give Baltimore County residents an easy commute to Aberdeen.  Additional new or expanded Commuter Bus service will be launching this spring with the high-frequency CityLink routes launching in summer 2017.

Secretary Rahn showed the group the new Maryland Proud license plate that was made available September 26 and can be ordered online for $20 at mva.maryland.gov.  He also described the new Maryland driver’s license as the most secure in the nation.  For the first time ever, the new driver’s license also honors Veterans with VETERAN displayed proudly on the front of the license.  From June 20 to October 8, 2016, 10,173 veterans chose to get the new MD Secure Driver’s License or ID with the Veteran designation on the front.

Officials and residents met at Baltimore County Council Chambers in the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse in Towson.  The tour launched September 20 with stops in Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico counties and will conclude November 15 in Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester counties.  Meetings are planned at various locations in all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City.  For a complete list of the CTP Tour Schedule with dates, times and locations visit:  mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/Planning/CTP/2016_CTP_Tour.  To view the draft CTP, visit here:  mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/Planning/CTP.

Each fall, MDOT presents its draft six-year capital program to every county and Baltimore City for review and comment.  Following input from the 24 local jurisdictions, MDOT prepares a final budget to present to the General Assembly in January.

Contact: 
Erin Henson
MDOT Public Affairs
410-865-1025
ehenson@mdot.maryland.gov

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