FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 8, 2021
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
MDOT MEETS VIRTUALLY WITH GARRETT COUNTY
OFFICIALS AS PART OF ANNUAL STATEWIDE TOUR
TO DISCUSS TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES
Transportation Secretary Outlines Budget
and Provides Key Project Updates
OAKLAND, MD – Maryland Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater met virtually with Garrett County officials today to discuss the Draft FY 2022 – FY 2027 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP), which details the Maryland Department of Transportation's (MDOT) six-year capital budget. The 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 $16.4 billion investment over the next six years in transit, highways, motor vehicle services, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. More information on the CTP process is available at http://ctp.maryland.gov.
“As promised, we crafted this budget to invest in preserving our aging infrastructure, delivering projects to support Maryland's economic recovery and creating a shelf of projects for the next generation," said Secretary Slater. “This approach to infrastructure investment allows us to maintain a state of good repair and be ready to quickly move projects into construction with any new federal transportation funding."
The Draft CTP outlines investments in each of MDOT's transportation business units funded by the Transportation Trust Fund, including: Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA), Maryland Port Administration (MPA), Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), State Highway Administration (SHA) and The Secretary's Office (TSO). The FY 2022 operating budget totals $2.24 billion.
This $16.4 billion Draft FY 2022 – FY 2027 capital budget focuses on system preservation, major projects, planning and engineering. More than half of the budget – $8.2 billion – will go toward preserving aging infrastructure.
MTA is facing $2 billion in state of good repair needs on its transit network. MDOT as a whole is facing a $7 billion state of good repair backlog, including needs on highways and bridges, and also at port, airport and motor vehicle facilities.
Along with a focus on system preservation, major projects, planning and engineering, Secretary Slater highlighted several other priorities, including:
- delivering infrastructure projects statewide in a way that incorporates technology, flexibility and future growth;
- providing safe and accessible mobility choices for all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists, that consider the interplay of land use and transportation decisions; and
- establishing a sustainable, customer-focused transportation vision that incorporates roadway, transit, freight, air and port infrastructure.
Finally, Secretary Slater highlighted $16.8 million in grants, recently announced by Governor Larry Hogan, to support bicycle, pedestrian and trail improvements through 42 projects across the state. Through the Recreational Trails Program, nearly $125,000 will go toward restoring and maintaining the trail bed surface and drainage features on the Burkholder Road Off-Road Vehicle Trail at Potomac Garrett State Forest. Two other grants will fund projects at Wolf Den Run State Park. More than $68,000 will be used to hire a three-person trail crew for Wolf Den Run State Park, which has a 40-mile off-road vehicle trail network. Another $75,000 will go toward installation of restroom facilities.
SHA Administrator Tim Smith discussed the importance of maintaining the state's highways and bridges. As SHA works on completing projects throughout the state, its focus remains on asset management, accessibility and mobility.
He emphasized the need to provide safe access to all users, including people who travel by foot, bicycle and scooter. SHA's Context Driven Guide is changing the way the administration delivers projects. Using these guidelines, SHA considers the context of an area – including surrounding land use and other factors – throughout the planning process to determine which options and design features will make the area safer and more accessible for all.
SHA has projects across the state, including those underway and recently completed in Garrett County. In May, SHA opened the new, realigned US 219. The $64 million project between I-68 and Old Salisbury Road also included upgraded connections at I-68.
SHA also partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to initiate a bistate study of the last remaining US 219 segment. SHA and PennDOT are working together to advance planning and preliminary engineering for the remaining eight miles of two-lane US 219 between Grantsville and Meyersdale. The two states are investing $11 million to initiate this effort.
Outside Oakland, SHA continues to work on replacing the 98-year-old MD 39 Youghiogheny River bridge. SHA completed preparatory work in 2019, including sewer line relocation, drainage structures construction and stormwater management facility construction. The $8.9 million bridge replacement is now proceeding, and SHA anticipates opening the new bridge to traffic before the end of 2021, with final paving to follow in 2022.
MTA Local Transit Support Director Travis Johnston discussed the agency's investments and priorities throughout the state, including keeping the transit system in a state of good repair.
He also discussed MTA's first 50-year Statewide Transit Plan, expected to be complete by the end of the year. Building upon existing regional and local transit plans across the state, the plan will outline a 50-year vision for transit in Maryland help define transit needs across the state for future generations.
MTA makes a significant investment in transit in Garrett County, providing nearly $857,000 in operating and capital grants to support the local transit operation. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Garrett County will receive $2.3 million in federal relief funds to support transit operations and/or capital needs of the county.
MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer reminded those in attendance that MVA remains under an appointment only operation, allowing the administration to efficiently serve more customers. Most branches have returned to pre-pandemic levels or are exceeding monthly transactions from previous years.
Among other recent changes, customers can now renew a license up to 12 months in advance. In addition, MVA extended the new photo requirement from every eight years to every 16 years. For Commercial Driver's License customers, expiration dates on all CDL products will be changing from five years to eight years, the same as the non-commercial license.
MVA offers more transactions online than ever before and customers are taking advantage of those services more than ever. Those services will only be enhanced with the final rollout of MVA's IT modernization project, known as Customer Connect, in December. Phase 1 of Customer Connect was completed in July 2020. Phase 2 will include driver services, driver enforcement, investigations and financial services. At full deployment, Customer Connect will consolidate existing IT systems at MVA into a single portal, giving the agency a complete view of the customer and real-time updates. For customers, this means greater access to their information online and a more secure product with the implementation of MD ID, a randomly generated number that protects a customer's personal information.
Administrator Nizer provided an update on the federal REAL ID requirement. MVA is working hard to ensure every Marylander is prepared for the new deadline of May 3, 2023. Currently 82% of Marylanders are REAL ID compliant, one of the highest in the nation.
Administrator Nizer, who serves as Governor Hogan's Highway Safety Representative, also discussed the Hogan Administration's recent announcement of more than $5,000 for agencies in Garrett County to address highway safety.
MAA Local Aviation Support Director Ashish Solanki said MAA's capital program remains focused on improving facilities and services for customers while creating opportunities for domestic and international air service. Driven by the mission to provide exceptional service in the safest, most reliable and efficient manner, system preservation projects include: an airport-wide restroom renovation program; aviation fuel storage replacement and expansion; electrical feeder replacements; airfield lighting vault upgrades; and passenger boarding bridge replacement.
After a short pause due to the pandemic, the MAA is moving forward with a major, multi-year terminal improvement to the center of operations for Southwest Airlines, the largest airline partner at BWI Marshall. The Concourse A/B Connector and Baggage Handling System Project will transform a major portion of the airport, creating an enhanced travel experience for passengers and supporting future growth of Southwest. Improvements will include direct concourse-to-concourse connectivity for passengers, new food and retail concessions, modern restrooms and expanded airline hold rooms, all atop a new baggage handling system.
MAA also is moving forward on site preparation and utility work that will support construction of a major aircraft maintenance facility for Southwest, the carrier's first such maintenance hangar in the Northeast. MAA will continue to support aviation and airports across Maryland by working with its 35 public-use airports in the state.
For the Statewide Aviation Grants program that provides important state funding and support for airport improvement projects, MAA intends to administer $1.6 million in grants during Fiscal 2022 for regional airports across Maryland. Greater Cumberland Regional Airport will receive $80,000 in state aviation grant assistance for construction of an airfield maintenance equipment building.