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For Immediate Release:

 

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

Deputy Transportation Secretary Announced Local Grants and Key Project Updates

October 13, 2017

(Elkton, MD) ‑ Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports today met with Cecil 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 Secretary Ports and Government Affairs Director Jeff Tosi from The Secretary’s Office; Administrator Chrissy Nizer from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Assistant District Engineer for Traffic Jeff Wentz from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); Administrator Kevin Quinn from the (MDOT MTA); Harbor Development Director Chris Correale from the Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA); and Deputy Executive Director Deb Sharpless from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).

Speaking on behalf of Transportation 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 Cecil County’s local priorities, including: $6.1 million in Highway User Revenues and grant dollars, which includes the additional $876,000 in grants recently awarded by Governor Larry Hogan. He also discussed highway safety grants recently announced by the governor and administered through MDOT MVA, including $17,000 to the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Secretary Ports said MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in Cecil County with inter-city bus and MARC Train services, providing $1.72 million in operating and capital grants to support the local transit system. Additionally, MDOT MTA is addressing public transportation priorities. A transportation Hub Study completed in the summer of 2017 identifies connection and transfer points for all established and planned fixed routes. The Hub would augment countywide park and ride services, ridesharing and assist in the connecting of individuals to all modes of transportation.

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 Cecil County businesses that count on the port to conduct business here in Maryland, including Ikea, GE Distribution, Herr Foods, Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers, and Integrity Toys.

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 24-straight monthly passenger records through June.

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 Cecil County, where MDOT SHA in February finished replacing the MD 222 Bridge over Rock Run, one of the structurally deficient bridges addressed under the Hogan Administration’s transportation investment program. MDOT SHA is continuing work on the MD 272 Bridge over Amtrak. Construction on this $9.8 million project is expected to be complete in spring 2019. MDOT SHA this spring completed the
$8.2 million system-preservation project to improve seven miles of US 40 between MD 222 and MD 272. Along with resurfacing, crews replaced guardrail, curbs, gutters, inlet grates and installed new raised pavement markings.

Deputy Secretary Ports also discussed several projects MDOT SHA has underway to enhance safety. Crews are building the MD 281 / Muddy Lane roundabout, a $3 million-dollar project that will improve safety and relieve congestion. A $4.5 million project along MD 272, from US 40 to Rogers Road in the town of North East, will improve traffic congestion and safety while adding a southbound through lane on MD 272 onto westbound US 40. Construction is underway and scheduled for completion in fall 2018. Deputy Secretary Ports also updated county officials on the $4.5 million MD 222 Port Deposit Drainage Project.

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 and allowing us to replace the Nice Bridge and study a new Bay Bridge crossing. 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.

Deputy Secretary Ports applauded Cecil County officials for creating a Strategic Highway Safety Plan in order to save lives. The 522 roadway fatalities Maryland experienced in 2016 is unacceptable, and 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 Cecil County Administrative Building in Elkton. 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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