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For Immediate Release:

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

Transportation Secretary Announced Local Grants and Key Project Updates

October 24, 2017

(La Plata, MD) ‑ Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn today met with Charles 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; Administrator Greg Slater and District Engineer Corren Johnson from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); Field Operations Director Rhashad Johnson from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Administrator Kevin Quinn from the (MDOT MTA); Regional Aviation Assistance Director Ashish Solanki from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); 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 Charles County’s local priorities, including: $7.5 million in Highway User Revenues and grant dollars, which includes the additional
$775,000 grant recently awarded by the Governor. He also discussed highway safety grants recently announced by Governor Hogan and administered through MDOT MVA, including $70,000 to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and $15,000 to the La Plata Police Department.

MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in Charles County by providing $3.85 million in operating and capital grants to support the local VanGo transit operation. In addition, three nonprofit organizations will receive $219,200 to support the important transportation services they provide.

Secretary Rahn 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 Charles County companies count on the port to conduct business here in Maryland, including Facchina Construction, BTP Arms, Production Products and Mid-Atlantic Pottery.

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, 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 Charles County, where MDOT SHA next spring will begin a $6.1 million project to replace the structurally deficient MD 234 Bridge over Gilbert Swamp Run in Allens Fresh. The project is expected to be complete by the fall of 2018. Also, next spring, MDOT SHA will begin a $13.7 million replacement of the MD 254 Bridge over Neale Sound in Cobb Island. The project is expected to be complete by the spring of 2020. Crews also continue resurfacing projects across Charles County, a $22 million investment in maintenance of local state roads.

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 MDTA to replace the Nice Bridge and study a new Bay Bridge crossing. E-ZPass usage among Charles County residents has increased by 7.7 percent since last December. There are now 16,038 E-ZPass accountholders in Charles County.

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.

Secretary Rahn also applauded Charles County officials for crafting 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 Charles County Government Building in La Plata. 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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