October 29, 2019
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
Transportation Officials Announce Local Grants and Key Project Updates
(Prince Frederick, MD) – Acting Deputy Transportation Secretary Sean Powell met with Calvert 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, the Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA), Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall). Officials also discussed the Maryland Transportation Authority's additional $3.1 billion investment 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 and other MDOT officials outlined key updates on transportation investments in Calvert County and across Maryland. Statewide, there are 718 airport, highway, transit, port, bicycle, and MDOT MVA projects underway, with a value of $7.2 billion.
The deputy secretary announced an increase in funding through Highway User Revenues (HUR), made possible by bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan last year. Calvert County will receive $1,880,285 through HUR this year, an increase of $147,859 over last year's allocation. In addition, the county will receive $29,100 in highway safety grants through MDOT MVA, benefiting programs for the Calvert County Sheriff's Office and the Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse.
MDOT team members representing the agency's business units at the meeting were: Acting Deputy Transportation Secretary Powell; MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, Local Transit Support Deputy Director Jeannie Fazio from the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA); Deputy Administrator Jason Ridgway from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); Regional Aviation Assistance Office Director Ashish Solanki from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); and Planning and Program Development Director Melissa Williams from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).
MDOT SHA noted progress on several projects in Calvert County, including completion of the $31 million MD 261 (Bayside Road) bridge over Fishing Creek near Chesapeake Beach.
MDOT SHA is continuing construction on a $47 million widening project on MD 2/4 from Fox Run Boulevard to Commerce Lane in Prince Frederick, and is also designing improvements for the MD 4 intersection at Mount Harmony Road.
The agency is partnering on two sidewalk and pedestrian safety projects totaling $1.03 million in federal grant funds: a sidewalk project on Solomons Island Road, and improvements on MD 261 that are part of the Safe Routes to School program.
MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in transit in Calvert County through the operation of five Commuter Bus routes and by providing $922,000 in operating and capital grants to support the local transit system. This funding includes the replacement of two small buses, ongoing preventative maintenance, and funds for the Rideshare program. Additionally, $91,000 in fiscal 2020-21 will be provided to nonprofits serving transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities in the county.
The county was also awarded $42,552 in operating funds for fiscal years 2020 to 2022 through the Job Access and Reverse Commute program. This will allow for expansion of service hours on the fixed route system to targeted employment areas.
MDOT MVA Administrator Nizer provided an update on federal REAL ID compliance, noting that 51.7 percent of Calvert County residents are REAL ID Ready in advance of the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline. She also touted the fact that MDOT MVA employees have a 98 percent satisfaction rating from customers.
The $27 million Bay Bridge rehabilitation project was also discussed. The project involves replacing the deck surface of the westbound span right lane, sealing the deck and replacing lane signal gantries and steel rail posts. To help keep traffic flowing, MDTA has implemented cashless tolling at the Bay Bridge during certain times, and is working on a directive from Governor Hogan to make that full-time.
Also at MDTA, the governor's latest proposed toll rate reductions 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. MDTA is upgrading toll-collection software and modernizing customer service. All-electronic tolling is operational at the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge and will go into effect Oct. 30 at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.
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 under review. Public open houses on the options concluded this month. Details are available at baycrossingstudy.com.
Acting Deputy Secretary Powell highlighted 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, and ninth among U.S. ports for dollar value of cargo with $59.7 billion last year.
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 year 2020, MDOT MAA will provide $2.48 million in state support for Maryland's public-use airports.
MDOT officials said they were pleased to work with Calvert County officials on a highway safety plan to address personal injury 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: 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: mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/SafetyPledge.html.
The meeting at the Calvert County Courthouse was the 17th 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 CTP tour schedule, visit: https://bit.ly/2mhwlHn. To view the Draft CTP, visit: ctp.maryland.gov. Following input from the 24 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. Go to mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/News/News.html for the latest news and view photos on Flickr.