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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 5, 2019

Contact:
MDOT Public Affairs

Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
ehenson@mdot.maryland.gov

Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
jjoyner2@mdot.maryland.gov

MDOT MEETS WITH SOMERSET COUNTY
OFFICIALS AS PART OF ANNUAL STATEWIDE TOUR

TO DISCUSS TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES

Transportation Officials Announce Key Project Updates

(Snow Hill, MD) – Deputy Transportation Secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr. met with Somerset County officials today to discuss the Draft FY 2020-2025 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 $15.3 billion investment over the next six years in transit, highways, MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) 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 (MDTA) additional investments of $3.1 billion in Maryland’s toll roads and bridges.

“We have delivered a record program in record time and will continue improving our services to Marylanders,” said MDOT Secretary Pete K. Rahn.

In 2015, the Hogan Administration outlined a program of historic investment in infrastructure. Over the last four years, MDOT has completed 1,069 projects totaling nearly $5.9 billion.

Deputy Secretary Lewis outlined key updates on transportation investments in Somerset County and across Maryland. Statewide, there are 718 airport, highway, transit, port, bicycle, and MDOT MVA construction projects underway, with a value of $7.2 billion.

In addition to these projects, Deputy Secretary Lewis announced an increase in funding through Highway User Revenues, made possible by bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan last year. Somerset County will receive $904,117 in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of $82,063 over last year’s allocation. The county will also receive $11,000 in highway safety grants funded through MDOT MVA.

MDOT team members representing the agency’s business units were: Deputy Transportation Secretary Lewis; Regional Aviation Assistance Director Ashish Solanki from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); Deputy Administrator Leslie Dews from MDOT MVA; Local Transit Support Director Travis Johnston from the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA); Deputy Administrator Jason Ridgway from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); and Melissa Williams, Director of Planning and Program Development, from the MDTA.

Officials provided updates on major projects and system preservation projects in Somerset County.

At the Somerset-Worcester county line, MDOT SHA recently completed the replacement of the MD 364 bridge over Dividing Creek. This $2.6 million project follows through on Governor Hogan’s 2015 pledge to address all poorly rated bridges on the state highway system.

Construction is underway on a 4.5-mile shared-use path along MD 413 between Crisfield and Marion Station. The 10-foot wide path will be constructed on an old railroad alignment. This $3.9 million path is a county project, with SHA design and administration of the contract.

MDOT SHA is executing a $3.1 million areawide resurfacing program for Somerset, including a nearly 5-mile stretch of US 13 southbound between Eden and Princess Anne. Other areas being resurfaced include 1.5 miles of MD 363 in Princess Anne between the Manokin River bridge and West Pine Pole Road/Brownstone Road; more than two miles of MD 667 from Old Westover Marion Road to the bridge over Rehobeth Branch; and a mile of southbound US 13, between Sam Barnes Road (MD 673) and Lisa Lane.

MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in transit for Somerset County by providing the county’s transit provider, Shore Transit, with $4.2 million in operating and capital grants to support local transit in conjunction with Wicomico and Worcester counties. This funding includes three medium-duty bus replacements, three small-bus replacements, mobility management and ongoing maintenance.

In addition, $238,173 is provided to Somerset County Commission on Aging to help serve the transportation needs of local seniors and people with disabilities.

Deputy Secretary Lewis highlighted the latest records at the Port of Baltimore, including its handling of 11 million tons of general cargo in fiscal 2019. The port remains No. 1 in the nation for autos and roll on/roll off machinery. The port is ninth among U.S. ports for dollar value of cargo with $59.7 billion last year, and 11th for total foreign cargo tonnage with 43 million tons.

BWI Marshall is experiencing steadily growing passenger traffic with new airlines and service to new domestic and international markets. In 2018, BWI Marshall set a new all-time annual record for passenger traffic by exceeding 27.1 million passengers.

For fiscal 2020, MDOT MAA will provide $2.48 million in state support for Maryland’s public-use airports, including $37,226 to Crisfield-Somerset County Airport.

The $27 million Bay Bridge rehabilitation project was also discussed. The project involves replacing the deck surface of the westbound span right lane. Work includes deck repairs, sealing the deck and replacing existing lane signal gantries and steel rail posts. To help keep traffic flowing, MDTA has implemented cashless tolling during certain periods, when tolls are collected via E-ZPass and video tolling. Drivers who usually pay with cash can move through the plaza without stopping. They are mailed a statement and are charged the cash rate.

Governor Hogan recently instructed MDTA to shorten the duration of the project and mitigate its impacts on traffic. Extra crews have started working around the clock, seven days a week. Crews also have begun making repairs simultaneously in multiple work zones in different areas of the lane. MDTA is working to make cashless tolling full-time, and is exploring alternate milling methods and overlay materials that may speed up the project further. As part of this commitment, the contractor has agreed to work through Thanksgiving week.

Also at MDTA, Governor Hogan’s latest proposed toll rate reductions could save Marylanders about $28 million over the next five years. The proposal to reduce tolls for a third time under the Hogan administration is scheduled to be voted on by the MDTA Board on Nov. 21.

MDTA is upgrading toll-collection software and modernizing customer service. All-electronic tolling began Oct. 16 at the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge and Oct. 30 at the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

And a Tier 1 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study of location and funding options for a third Chesapeake Bay crossing is moving forward, with three corridors and a “no-build” option now being reviewed. Public open houses, including two in Anne Arundel County, were held in recent weeks. Updates and additional information is available at baycrossingstudy.com.

MDOT MVA Deputy Administrator Dews provided an update on federal REAL ID compliance, noting that 48 percent of Somerset County residents are REAL ID Ready in advance of the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline. She also touted the fact that MDOT MVA employees have received a 98 percent customer satisfaction rating.

She encouraged Somerset County officials to partner on a Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Maryland experienced 513 roadway fatalities in 2018. The state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan targets the most common causes of roadway fatalities in Maryland: impaired driving; speeding; not wearing seat belts; distracted driving; and not using crosswalks.

Deputy Secretary Lewis  encouraged residents and officials in attendance to sign MDOT’s Traffic Safety Pledge, found at: mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/SafetyPledge.html.

The meeting at the County Office Complex in Princess Anne was the 24th and final stop on the annual CTP tour. Each fall, MDOT presents its draft six-year capital program for review and comment. Meetings are held at locations in all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

To view the full CTP tour schedule, visit: https://bit.ly/2mhwlHn. To view the Draft CTP, visit: ctp.maryland.gov. Following input from the 24 local jurisdictions, MDOT prepares a final budget to present to the General Assembly in January.

Follow MDOT on Twitter at @MDOTNews and stay updated on the CTP Tour with #MDOTCTPtour. Find the latest news at mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/News/News.html and view photos on Flickr.

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