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For Immediate Release:

MDOT OFFICIALS MET WITH MONTGOMERY COUNTY
AS PART OF ANNUAL STATEWIDE TOUR TO DISCUSS TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES 

Deputy Transportation Secretary Announced Local Grants and Key Project Updates

November 2, 2017

(Rockville, MD) – Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports today met with Montgomery County officials to discuss the Draft FY 2018-2023 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 $14.7 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 $2.6 billion additional investments in Maryland’s toll roads and bridges.

“The annual CTP Tour lets us engage with our customers about their transportation priorities,” said Deputy Secretary Ports. “We actively dialogue with Marylanders throughout the year, and this lets us talk face-to-face with them about transportation issues that are important to us all.”

MDOT team members representing the agency’s business units were: Deputy MDOT Transportation Secretary Ports, Deputy Secretary R. Earl Lewis, and Government Affairs Director Jeff Tosi from The Secretary’s Office; Administrator Chrissy Nizer from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Chief Engineer Paul Shank ); Administrator Kevin Quinn from the Maryland Transit Adminstration (MDOT MTA); Administrator Greg Slater and District Engineer Brian Young from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); and from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).

Speaking on behalf of Secretary Pete K. Rahn, Deputy Secretary Ports outlined key updates on the transportation investments. Statewide, there are 846 airport, highway, transit, port, bicycle, and motor vehicle construction projects underway with a value of $9 billion.

In addition to these projects, Deputy Secretary Ports announced funding for Montgomery County’s local priorities, including $35.4 million in Highway User Revenues, which includes the additional $4.9 million in grants recently awarded by Governor Larry Hogan. He also discussed highway safety grants recently announced by Governor Hogan and administered through MDOT MVA, including $240,000 for the Montgomery County Police Department; $27,000 for the Gaithersburg Police Department; $25,000 for the Rockville Police Department; and $10,000 for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in transit in Montgomery County through the operation of MARC Train service, Commuter Bus service and by contributing $49.5 million in operating and capital grants to support the local RideOn transit operation. That includes funds for the replacement of heavy duty transit buses and ongoing preventive maintenance.

Deputy Secretary Ports also touted the latest records at the Port of Baltimore, including the port handling 10.1 million tons of general cargo – from autos and heavy machinery to containers – in FY 2017. The port remains number one in the nation for autos and roll on/roll off machinery, and just one year after welcoming the first mega ship from the newly expanded Panama Canal, port container business is up 10 percent. He also highlighted key Montgomery County companies count on the port to conduct business here in Maryland, including Architectural Ceramics, Hughes Network Systems and CMI Moulding.

At BWI Marshall, he highlighted steadily growing passenger traffic with new airlines and service to new domestic and international markets. In FY 2017, BWI Marshall set a new all-time annual record for passenger traffic with nearly 25.7 million passengers, and it has seen strong growth continue with 26-straight monthly passenger records through August.

On the highway side, Deputy Secretary Ports said that under Governor Hogan’s leadership, Maryland is making record investments in highways and bridges. Of the 69 structurally deficient bridges the Hogan Administration identified in June 2015, 41 have been rehabilitated or replaced and are no longer structurally deficient. The remaining 28 are in various stages of design and actively moving toward construction or repair.

Deputy Secretary Ports also provided an update on important major projects and system preservation projects in Montgomery County, where MDOT SHA is working on the I-270 congestion relief project that also impacts Frederick County. The $100 million Innovative Congestion Management project will cut up to 30 minutes off the morning southbound I-270 commute. Enhancements include moving the HOV lane to the shoulder, restriping to improve flow at pinch points, active traffic management and new technologies. Work just started on the important piece that will provide three lanes off southbound I-270 to westbound I-495 and modify the Capital Beltway to have the merge from the left of the mainline – better merging the two interstates to accommodate heavier traffic flow.

Governor Hogan officially broke ground in mid-July on one of his signature investments, the $98 million interchange construction at Watkins Mill Road in Gaithersburg. Work will be complete and open to traffic in summer 2020. Also, next spring, MDOT SHA will begin a $30 million project to reconstruct MD 97 around Brookeville. The project will improve congestion in the town and improve traffic operations to Georgia Avenue. Construction is scheduled to begin summer 2018, building a two-lane highway that will be complete spring 2021.

Among many other resurfacing projects, MDOT SHA recently completed a $10.1 million safety and resurfacing project on the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway between the I-270 east spur and Seminary Road. 

As safety remains the top priority for the state, Deputy Secretary Ports pointed out that MDOT SHA installed a High-intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) signal on MD 410 (East West Highway) at the entrance to Bethesda Chevy Chase High School, the first HAWK beacon on a Maryland state roadway. 

At MDTA, Governor Hogan’s toll rate reductions have saved Marylanders $122 million since 2015. Toll rate reductions will continue to save Maryland citizens and businesses approximately $54 million annually. With lower tolls, more people are using MDTA’s toll facilities, driving up revenues higher than expected, allowing the state to replace the Nice Bridge and study a new Bay Bridge crossing. E-ZPass usage among Montgomery County residents has increased by 9.6 percent since December of last year. There are now 209,970 E-ZPass accountholders in Montgomery County, who continue to save more than 50 percent in travel time by using the ICC compared to other parallel routes.

A Tier 1 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study of location and funding options for a third Chesapeake Bay crossing began in January 2017 and will take up to 48 months to complete. MDTA anticipates advertising a design-build contract for the new Nice Bridge in 2018, starting construction in 2020, and opening a new, wider and safer bridge in 2023. Using practical-design and value-engineering approaches, MDTA has reduced project costs by more than $200 million below early study estimates. The new bridge will be built north of and parallel to the existing 1.7-mile bridge and will include two lanes of traffic in each direction.

Deputy Secretary Ports also applauded Montgomery County officials for crafting a Strategic Highway Safety Plan to help save lives. The 522 roadway fatalities Maryland experienced in 2016 is unacceptable, and Ports said a highway safety plan would help target the most common causes of roadway fatalities in Maryland: impaired driving; speeding; not wearing seat belts; distracted driving; and not using crosswalks.

Officials and residents met today in the Montgomery County Office Building in Rockville. The tour launched September 25 in Queen Anne’s County and will conclude November 13 in Harford County. Meetings are planned at various locations in all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City. For a complete list of dates, times, locations and directions, click here: ow.ly/lEDN30e8SF3. To view the draft CTP, visit:  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 office
443-829-9386 cell
ehenson@mdot.maryland.gov

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