September 27, 2019
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
Transportation Officials Announce Key Project Updates
(Bel Air, MD) – Acting Deputy Transportation Secretary Sean Powell today met with Harford County officials 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, Motor Vehicle Administration facilities, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall). Officials also discussed the Maryland Transportation Authority's $3.1 billion in additional investments 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.
Acting Deputy Secretary Powell outlined key updates on transportation investments in Harford County and across Maryland. Statewide, there are 718 airport, highway, transit, port, bicycle, and Motor Vehicle Administration construction projects underway, with a value of $7.2 billion.
In addition to these projects, the acting deputy secretary announced an increase in funding through Highway User Revenues, made possible by bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan last year. Harford County will receive more than $4.8 million in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of $470,000 over last year's allocation.
Additionally, the county will receive $113,000 in highway safety grants through MDOT MVA, including funds for the Harford County Sheriff's Office and Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace police departments.
Officials also discussed all-electronic tolling, which is set to begin Oct. 16 at the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge on the Harford/Cecil county line, and Oct. 30 at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.
MDOT team members representing the agency's business units were: Acting Deputy Secretary Powell; Administrator Chrissy Nizer from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Local Transit Support Director Travis Johnston from the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA); Administrator Greg Slater from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); Regional Aviation Assistance Director Ashish Solanki from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); Deputy Executive Director Dave Thomas of the MDOT Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA); and Chief Operating Officer John O'Neill from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).
MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in Harford County Intercity bus service, with a round-trip once a day from Washington, D.C. to Wilmington, Del.; MARC Train service; the operation of four Commuter Bus routes; and $3.2 million in operating and capital grants to support the local community. The county's capital projects include three heavy-duty bus replacements, four small bus replacements, updated tablets for the buses, a new facility feasibility study and Rideshare program funds. Additionally, $290,000 has been awarded to two nonprofits that serve the transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities in the county.
MDOT MTA continues to make improvements to the MARC system and recently acquired eight new MARC locomotives. Additionally, 63 MARC III railcars are being overhauled. The $54 million project includes upgraded seats, communications, air brakes, HVAC and doors. The project is underway and is expected to be completed by 2021.
In addition, MDOT MTA provided technical assistance to make improvements to the MARC Aberdeen station through Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant funding. Proposed improvements for this funding include new ADA-compliant curb ramps, sidewalks, upgraded pedestrian light fixtures, pedestrian sidewalk striping, wayfinding language and bicycle racks.
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.
Acting Deputy Secretary Powell also 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.
Transportation officials also provided updates on major highway projects and system preservation projects in Harford County.
MDOT SHA is investing $30.5 million to rehabilitate the US 40 bridges over Big Gunpowder and Little Gunpowder Falls. The project is scheduled to be completed in fall 2021.
Phase II of improvements at US 40 and MD 7/MD 159 is nearly complete south of Aberdeen. US 40 eastbound was widened to create four through-lanes toward Aberdeen while westbound US 40 was widened to create three through-lanes going toward Edgewood. The new lanes are open.
MDOT SHA has a number of patching and resurfacing projects planned, including:
● MD 24 from Jarrettsville Pike to Ferncliff Lane (already complete);
● MD 625 from MD 165 to the Pennsylvania state line;
● MD 440 from MD 136 to US 1;
● MD 152 from Connolly Road to Pleasantville Road;
● MD 161 from MD 155 to Green Spring Road;
● MD 22 from MD 924 to east of MD 543.
MDOT SHA is nearing completion of the MD 22 improvement project between MD 136 and Prospect Mill Road in Churchville. The $10 million project includes widening and resurfacing.
MDOT SHA recently completed a $2.7 million project to improve drainage along MD 623 from Franklin Church Road to Glen Cove Road.
MDOT SHA also has intersection improvement projects to improve traffic under various stages of design including:
● MD 136 at MD 543;
● MD 24 at MD 755;
● MD 147 at MD 152.
MDOT SHA is working on a new safety and resurfacing project on MD 132 in downtown Aberdeen. The $2.9 million project is located between MD 462 and US 40. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2020.
In addition, a $1 million safety and resurfacing project is under construction on US 1 Business between Main Street and Hickory Avenue in Bel Air. A $2.7 million resurfacing project will take place on MD 924 between Plumtree and Ring Factory roads, and between MD 924 and US 1 Business.
MDOT is working with state, county and local partners to deliver bicycle and pedestrian projects using Transportation Alternatives, Recreation Trails and Bikeways grant programs. Currently, MDOT is partnering on five projects totaling $4.9 million in federal grant funds for Harford County. These projects include: Aberdeen MARC station connectivity enhancements; Emmorton walkability and Southampton Middle School sidewalk projects; and $750,000 for the Ma and Pa Connector Trail.
In addition to all-electronic tolling at the Hatem and Key bridges, MDTA officials discussed Governor Hogan's latest proposed toll rate reductions, which could save Marylanders $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.
The MDTA also is upgrading toll-collection software and modernizing customer service.
MDTA representatives also noted that 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 alternatives and a “no-build" option now being reviewed.
Acting Deputy Secretary Powell said he was pleased to continue working with Harford County officials on a highway safety plan to address personal injuries crashes in Maryland. The state experienced 513 roadway fatalities in 2018.
Maryland'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. Acting Deputy Secretary Powell encouraged residents and officials in attendance to sign MDOT's Traffic Safety Pledge, found at: http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/SafetyPledge.html
The meeting in the Harford County Council Chambers was the fourth stop on the annual CTP tour. Meetings will be held at various 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: www.ctp.maryland.gov.
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.
Follow MDOT on Twitter at @MDOTNews and stay updated on the CTP Tour with #MDOTCTPtour. Find the latest news at http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/News/News.html and view MDOT photos on Flickr.