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For Immediate Release:

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

Transportation Secretary Announced Local Grants and Key Project Updates

November 9, 2017

(Ellicott City, MD) – Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn today met with Howard 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 Secretary Rahn. “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: Transportation Secretary Rahn and State Legislative Officer Tom Curtin from The Secretary’s Office; Field Operations Director Rhashad Johnson from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Administrator Ricky Smith from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); Administrator Kevin Quinn from the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA); Administrator Greg Slater and District Engineer John Concannon from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); and Executive Director Kevin Reigrut from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).

Secretary Rahn 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, Secretary Rahn announced funding for local priorities, including $10.7 million in Highway User Revenues for Howard County and its municipalities over the next six years, which includes the additional $742,000 in grants recently awarded by Governor Larry Hogan. Secretary Rahn also discussed highway safety grants recently announced by Governor Hogan and administered through MDOT MVA, including $70,000 to the Howard County Police Department and $23,795 to the Maryland Judiciary’s Howard County DUI Court.

Secretary Rahn said MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in transit in Howard County through the operation of MARC Train, six Commuter Bus routes and $2.2 million in operating and capital grants to support the local transit system. MDOT MTA also is providing $65,000 in funding to a nonprofit organization in the county to support its transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities.

Secretary Rahn said Howard County also will benefit from Governor Hogan’s $9 billion plan to add four new lanes to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD 295), I-270, and the Capital Beltway (I-495). He said Governor Hogan’s recently announced Phase II of the Traffic Relief Plan ‑ to implement Smart Signal Corridors throughout the state ‑ will benefit 36,600 drivers in the Jessup and Elkridge area.

Secretary Rahn also touted the latest records at the Port of Baltimore, including the port handling 
10.3 million tons of general cargo – from autos and heavy machinery to containers – in fiscal year 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. Secretary Rahn also highlighted key Howard County companies that count on the port to conduct business here in Maryland, including Rhee Brothers, Gramaco Granite & Marble, and W.R. Grace.

Secretary Rahn discussed the D/E Connector expansion at BWI Marshall Airport and steadily growing passenger traffic there 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.

Secretary Rahn 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.

Secretary Rahn also provided an update on important major projects and system preservation projects in Howard County, where MDOT SHA has completed the $36 million widening of northbound US 29 between Seneca Drive and MD 175. The newly added third northbound lane opened to traffic in the summer.

Just this week, MDOT SHA began to construct a new exit ramp from northbound US 29 to westbound MD 175. The $1.9 million project will be complete spring 2018. The project eliminates a weave on northbound US 29 between the loop ramps and improves traffic flow and safety at the busy interchange.

In August, Governor Hogan was on hand for the groundbreaking on the widening of MD 32 between MD 108 and Linden Church Road. Secretary Rahn thanked Howard County for contributing $16.5 million toward the $37.5 million project, which will be complete in fall 2018. Design is underway for the $112 million phase two of the MD 32 project, which includes the 6.5-mile section between Linden Church Road and I-70. Completion is anticipated in the fall of 2021. These projects will dramatically improve safety and mobility along MD 32, an important regional corridor that is one of the most heavily traveled two lane roads in Maryland.

At MDTA, Secretary Rahn said 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. usage among Howard County residents has increased by 9.8 percent since December; and there are now
81,239 E-ZPass accountholders in Howard County.

Secretary Rahn also encouraged Howard County officials to craft a Strategic Highway Safety Plan or adopt Maryland’s, to help save lives. The 522 roadway fatalities Maryland experienced in 2016 is unacceptable, and Secretary Rahn 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 at the George Howard Building in Ellicott City. The tour launched September 25 in Queen Anne’s County and will conclude Monday, 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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