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For Immediate Release:

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

Deputy Transportation Secretary Announced Local Grants and Key Project Updates

October 10, 2017

(Snow Hill, MD) ‑ Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports today met with Worcester 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 Greg Slater and District Engineer Jay Meredith from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); Field Operations Director Rhashad Johnson from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Regional Aviation Assistance Director Ashish Solanki from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); Deputy Administrator Suhair Al Khatib from the (MDOT MTA); and Project Planning and Program Development Director Melissa Williams 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 Worcester County’s local priorities, including: $5.5 million in Highway User Revenues and grant dollars, which includes the additional $888,000 grant recently awarded by the Governor. He also discussed highway safety grants recently announced by the Governor and awarded through MDOT MVA, including $27,027 to the Ocean City Police Department, $2,464 to the Worcester County Health Department, $2,000 to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, and $1,750 to the Ocean Pines Police Department.

MDOT MTA is providing Shore Transit with $4.24 million in operating and capital grants to support the local transit operation in conjunction with Wicomico and Somerset counties. In addition, MDOT MTA continues to support the Ocean City transit system. This summer, MDOT MTA donated to the town five large transit vehicles during the peak tourist season; and, in FY18, the town will receive $7.2 million in operating and capital funding for its transit system.

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 Worcester County companies that count on the port to conduct business here in Maryland, including: Sunspecs of Ocean City, Grand Living Magazine, Nick’s Mini Golf, and Teak Imports.

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 Worcester County, including MDOT SHA’s work on the 4.6-mile, $52 million widening of US 113 (Phase III) between Massey Branch and Five Mile Branch Road. That project is anticipated to be completed by the end of the year. Also, the final phase of widening US 113 for more than four miles between Five Mile Branch Road and Public Landing Road will begin this fall. The $82 million project is expected to wrap up by fall 2019. MDOT SHA also is progressing with $29.8 million in resurfacing projects throughout Worcester County.

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. 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 also encouraged Worcester County officials to create a Strategic Highway Safety Plan or adopt Maryland’s, 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 Worcester County Government Center in Snow Hill. 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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