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For Immediate Release:

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

Deputy Transportation Secretary Announced Local Grants and Key Project Updates

October 26, 2017

(Towson, MD) – Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports today met with Baltimore 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 and Government Affairs Director Jeff Tosi from The Secretary’s Office; Administrator Greg Slater and District Engineer Wendy Wolcott from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); Deputy Administrator Field Operations Leslie Dews from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Administrator Kevin Quinn from the (MDOT MTA); Administrator Ricky Smith Administrator Jim White from the Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA); and Executive Director Kevin Reigrut 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 Baltimore County’s local priorities, including: $27.4 million in Highway User Revenues and grant dollars, which includes the additional $1.9 million grant recently awarded by the Governor. He also discussed highway safety grants recently announced by Governor Hogan and administered through

MDOT MVA, including $323,364 for the Baltimore County Police Department and $9,000 for the Baltimore County Department of Health.

MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in Baltimore County, where it operates the Metro SubwayLink, a 15.5-mile, 14-station rail line; MARC Train service between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and Light RailLink. With the recent launch of BaltimoreLink, the county now has multiple Express BusLink routes, LocalLinks and CityLinks. Additionally, $568,000 is awarded to the county to support the County Ride bus service and the Rideshare program. Another $491,000 has been awarded to support five nonprofit organizations to transport seniors and people with disabilities in Baltimore County.

BaltimoreLink, which launched on June 18, allows are residents for the first time ever to count on high-frequency bus service that arrives about every 15 minutes between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays, much like Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink. More than 130,000 more people now have access to a high-frequent transit network (FTN) within a quarter-mile of where they live. That’s a 32 percent increase over the previous system’s access to a FTN.

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 Baltimore County companies 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 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 Baltimore County, where MDOT SHA is nearing completion of the $42 million project to replace the two bridges carrying the I-695 inner loop over Benson Avenue, the AMTRAK/MARC rail lines, US 1 (Southwestern Boulevard), Leeds Avenue and the east branch of the Herbert Run. Officials plan to shift traffic onto the new bridges by the end of this year and complete final paving next spring.

In Catonsville, MDOT SHA is about 40 percent complete on the $68.7 million major project to widen the
I-695 outer loop between south of US 40 and MD 144 (Frederick Road). The widening project should be completed the in the summer of 2020. In Milford Mill, MDOT SHA recently completed the $25.3 million project to replace the bridge carrying I-695 over Milford Mill Road. The new bridge deck is wide enough to accommodate future Beltway widening. In Parkville, MDOT SHA widened I-695 and opened new auxiliary lanes on both loops of I-695 between Perring Parkway and Harford Road. The $26 million project included replacement of the Old Harford Road bridge over I-695 with a longer bridge to allow for widening of I-695 underneath.

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 us to replace the Nice Bridge and study a new Bay Bridge crossing. E-ZPass usage among Baltimore County residents has increased by 4.8 percent since last December. There are now 129,416 E-ZPass accountholders in Baltimore 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.

Deputy Secretary Ports also provided an MDTA construction-related update. He said that prior to the start of the Canton Viaduct reconstruction on I-895, the MDTA will complete a project to reconfigure travel lanes on a four-mile stretch of I-95 north of the Fort McHenry Tunnel. Once completed in the summer 2018, the project will provide four continuous lanes from the tunnel to Moravia Road. Work also continues on the
$48.5 million rehabilitation project on the bridge carrying I-895 over the Patapsco Flats. Two-way traffic in the work zone is expected until early 2019, and the entire project will be completed in the summer of 2019.

Deputy Secretary Ports also urged Baltimore County officials to craft a Strategic Highway Safety Plan or adopt the state’s, in order to 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 Baltimore County Council Chambers in Towson. 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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