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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 2, 2018

Contact:
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
ehenson@mdot.maryland.gov

Brandi Bottalico, 410-865-1030
bbottalico1@mdot.maryland.gov

MDOT OFFICIALS MET WITH WORCESTER COUNTY
AS PART OF ANNUAL STATEWIDE TOUR

TO DISCUSS TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES

Transportation Secretary Announced Local Grants and Key Project Updates

(Snow Hill, MD) – Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn today met with Worcester County officials to discuss the Draft FY 2019-2024 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 $16 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 $3.3 billion additional investment in Maryland’s toll roads and bridges.

“We continue to deliver on the largest construction program in the state’s history, improving customer service at MDOT, and setting records for containers at the port and for passengers at the airport,” said Secretary Rahn.

MDOT team members representing the agency’s business units were: Transportation Secretary Rahn, State Legislative Officer Tom Curtin, Regional Planner Ian Beam, and Rail Program and Policy Manager Harry Romano from The Secretary’s Office; Field Operations Director Rhashad Johnson and District Manager Charles Howell from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Director of Planning and Programming Holly Arnold from the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA); Regional Aviation Assistance Director Ashish Solanki from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); Administrator Greg Slater and District Engineer James Meredith from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); and Project Planning and Program Development Director Melissa Williams, and Michele Gross from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).

Secretary Rahn outlined key updates on transportation investments. Statewide, there are 816 airport, highway, transit, port, bicycle, and motor vehicle administration construction projects underway with a value of $8.8 billion.

In addition to these projects, officials announced funding for Worcester County’s local priorities, including: $14 million in Highway User Revenues for the county for FY 2019 – FY 2024, which includes an additional $1.3 million in grants recently awarded by the Governor; and highway safety grants funded through MDOT MVA, including $30,019 to the Ocean City Police Department, $3,589.30 to the Worcester County Health Department, $1,995.50 for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, and $2,000 to the Ocean Pines Police Department.

MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in transit in Worcester County, including $3.8 million in operating and capital grants to Shore Transit to support the local transit operation in conjunction with Wicomico and Somerset counties. This funding includes two medium-duty buses, one small bus, mobility management and ongoing preventive maintenance.

MDOT MTA also continues to support the Ocean City transit system. In FY19, the town will receive $7.7 million in operating and capital funding for its transit system. This includes $6 million for the second phase of construction for the Transit Facility, as part of an $18 million commitment from MDOT MTA.

Additionally, $88,000 in FY18/19 funding will be provided to the Worcester County Commission on Aging and nonprofits that serve the transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities in the county. These funds will be used to support the new Community for Life program in Ocean Pines, which will help adults 65 and over age in place by providing grocery and social event trips, medical transportation, phone call check-ins, light handyman services, and screening of vendors.

Secretary Rahn also touted the latest records at the Port of Baltimore, including the port handling 10.9 million tons of general cargo – from autos and heavy machinery to containers – in FY 2018. The port remains No. 1 in the nation for autos and roll on/roll off machinery, and handled a record 596,972 containers in 2017.

At BWI Marshall, Secretary Rahn highlighted steadily growing passenger traffic with new airlines and service to new domestic and international markets. In 2017, BWI Marshall set a new all-time annual record for passenger traffic by exceeding 26 million passengers. The airport through July set passenger records in 36 of the past 37 months.

On the highway side, Secretary Rahn noted that under Governor Hogan’s leadership, Maryland continues to deliver on record investments in highways and bridges. Of the 69 structurally deficient bridges the Hogan Administration identified in June 2015, all have been repaired, replaced or are advertised for construction.

Officials provided an update on important major projects and system preservation projects in Worcester County.

MDOT SHA recently completed the 4.6-mile, $52 million widening of US 113 between Massey Branch and Five Mile Branch Road. The road was opened in July.

The final phase of widening US 113, a $74 million project, will widen more than four miles between Five Mile Branch Road and Public Landing Road. The project is under construction and set to be completed in the fall of 2019.

MDOT SHA is making ongoing repairs to the US 50 drawbridge in Ocean City. There will be minimal impact as work continues into the winter.

MDOT SHA is also progressing with $31 million in funds for resurfacing projects throughout Worcester County. This includes $7 million to resurface Coastal Highway and improve pedestrian safety in Ocean City.

Officials mentioned other projects as well, including the addition of a second left turn lane from US 50 eastbound to MD 589 northbound. Construction will begin in the spring of 2019. Slope repairs along MD 589 are under construction and will be completed by the end of the year. MDOT SHA also has started a concept study for a roundabout at MD 589 and Ocean Pines North Gate. MDOT SHA has partnered with Peninsula Regional Medical Center to improve the intersection.

On the US 13 bridge over the Pocomoke River, MDOT SHA is adding lighting. This project is under construction and is set to be completed this winter.

At MDTA, Governor Hogan’s toll rate reductions have saved Marylanders $186 million since 2015. 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.

Officials commended Worcester County for starting to create a highway safety plan. Maryland experienced 558 roadway fatalities in 2017, and a Strategic 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. Secretary Rahn encouraged residents to sign MDOT’s Traffic Safety Pledge, at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MDOTsafetypledge.

Officials and residents met today in the Commissioners Meeting Room at Government Center in Snow Hill. The meeting was the sixth stop on the annual CTP tour, which is scheduled to conclude November 15 in Baltimore County. Meetings are planned at various locations in all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City. For a complete list of the CTP Tour Schedule with dates, times and locations visit: http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/Planning/CTP/2018_CTP_Tour/Index.html. To view the Draft CTP, visit: www.ctp.maryland.gov.

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