September 19, 2019
MDOT Public Affairs
Transportation Officials Announce Key Project Updates
TOWSON, MD – Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn met today with Baltimore 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. The meeting was the first stop on MDOT's tour of 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City to update 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 Secretary 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.
Secretary Rahn outlined key updates on transportation investments in Baltimore 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, Secretary Rahn announced an increase in funding through Highway User Revenues, made possible by bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan last year. Baltimore County will receive nearly $9 million in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of more than $330,000 compared to 2018.
In addition, the county will receive highway safety grants funded through MDOT MVA, including $349,105 for the Baltimore County Police Department and $10,500 for the Baltimore County Department of Health.
Joining Secretary Rahn to outline these projects were MDOT team members: Executive Director Ricky Smith from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); Administrator Chrissy Nizer from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Administrator Kevin Quinn from the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA); Administrator Greg Slater from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); Executive Director Jim Ports from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA); and Executive Director Jim White from the MDOT Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA).
MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in Baltimore County through the operation of BaltimoreLink bus routes, Metro SubwayLink, Light RailLink, MobilityLink, MARC Train service, and Commuter Bus. Additionally, $838,000 was awarded to the county to support the County Ride bus service and the Rideshare program. More than $1 million has been awarded to support nonprofits that transport seniors and people with disabilities in the county.
In June 2017, MDOT MTA launched BaltimoreLink, an overhaul and rebranding of the core transit system operating within Baltimore City and throughout the region. MDOT MTA improved on-time performance from 59.5 percent in fall 2016 to 71.4 percent in March 2019.
While the MDOT MTA bus system is providing 300,000 miles of additional service, customer complaints are down. Even though the customer service number was included on 4,200 newly designed bus stop signs, bus-related complaints are down 8 percent.
MDOT MTA has continued to add service to the LocalLink 63 route, which provides service from downtown Baltimore to the Tradepoint Atlantic job center. The center is expected to provide 10,000 jobs by 2025. MDOT MTA is also investing in new vehicles, purchasing 70 new buses each year under the agency's first five-year, $211 bus contract to ensure fleet continuity through 2024.
Improvements are underway on the Baltimore region's rail infrastructure as well. MDOT MTA is investing $400 million to replace the Metro SubwayLink railcars and signal system. The new vehicles will enhance passenger comfort and convenience and ensure reliability.
Additionally, MDOT MTA's Light Rail 53 vehicle fleet is undergoing a $160 million overhaul. MDOT MTA is investing another $54 million to overhaul 63 MARC III passenger coaches, a project set to be completed by 2021. MDOT MTA also recently deployed eight new MP-36 diesel locomotives.
MDOT MTA has installed GPS units on the entire bus fleet, providing accurate location information for all buses. The agency has partnered with Transit App to provide real-time bus arrival information to riders. Since its launch, 200,000 users have downloaded the app.
In addition, riders using the mobile transit app CharmPass, and CharmCard, receive a free 90-minute transfer window when riding Local Bus, Light RailLink, and Metro SubwayLink. To date, more than 130,000 users have downloaded the CharmPass app, racking up more than 1 million purchases.
Secretary Rahn 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.
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.
Transportation officials also provided updates on major highway projects and system preservation projects in Baltimore County.
MDOT is moving forward with the procurement process for a $461 million traffic relief initiative, announced by Governor Hogan in December 2017, to add 27 lane miles to interstates 695 and 95. The plan includes shifting the inside shoulder into an available travel lane on about 19 miles of both loops of I-695 between I-70 and MD 43 (White Marsh Boulevard). The plan aims to relieve congestion relief during peak travel times. In addition, the project will improve the interchange at I-695 and I-70.
In Catonsville, MDOT SHA is continuing the $131 million project to widen the I-695 outer loop between south of US 40 and MD 144 (Frederick Road). The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
MDOT SHA recently completed the new Crosby Road Bridge over I-695 on the west side of the county. The $8.2 million project opened in February. New ADA-compliant sidewalks and bike lanes have improved pedestrian and bicycle access between the communities on each side of the bridge.
In Arbutus, MDOT SHA is continuing to work on the $32 million replacement of the US 1 bridge over CSX tracks. The new US 1 bridge is slated to be completed by late fall 2020.
In Owings Mills, MDOT SHA is nearing completion of a project to widen northbound MD 140 between north of Painters Mill Road and Garrison View Road, near Foundry Row. The $18 million project is scheduled to be completed this fall. Also in Owings Mills, MDOT SHA is beginning a new project to replace the county water line and resurface and improve MD 140 from Pleasant Hill Road to north of Painters Mill Road. The $13.8 million project is expected to be completed by late fall 2021.
In Timonium, MDOT SHA is replacing the dual I-83 bridge over Padonia Road. This $26 million project will improve traffic operations and safety. It is scheduled to be complete in summer 2021.
MDOT SHA has nearly completed a $16 million project to resurface MD 45 and replace a 24-inch water line from north of Padonia Road to Wight Avenue in Cockeysville. This is another joint project between the county and the state, with a scheduled completion date of late fall of this year.
Earlier this year, MDOT SHA began a safety and resurfacing project along York Road from north of the Towson roundabout to Cavan Drive, just past the I-695 interchange. The $3.2 million project is set to be completed this fall.
Also in Towson, MDOT SHA is completing a $12 million highway drainage and environmental improvement project on I-695 at Cromwell Bridge Road and along Minebank Run. The project, scheduled to be completed this fall, will restore stream channels and provide stormwater management facilities.
In Parkville, MDOT SHA plans to replace the Putty Hill Road bridge over I-695. Site work and utility relocations could begin by the end of the year.
In the Gunpowder Falls State Park area, MDOT SHA is making progress on a $30.5 million project to rehabilitate the US 40 bridges over Big Gunpowder Falls and Little Gunpowder Falls. The project, located on the Baltimore and Harford county line, is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
In Essex, MDOT SHA is partnering with Baltimore County on a $5.2 million water line and roadway resurfacing project along a half-mile of MD 150 (Eastern Avenue) between the Back River bridge and the Riverside Drive/Mace Avenue intersection. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2021.
MDOT SHA also will begin construction of three bridges on MD 151 and MD 151B (Wharf Road) next spring. That $21 million project is expected to be completed in 2023.
MDOT is working with state, county, and local partners to deliver bicycle and pedestrian projects using the Transportation Alternatives, Recreation Trails, and Bikeways grant programs. Currently, MDOT is partnering on 10 projects totaling $610,000.
Towson University was awarded a state-funded Bikeways grant for $603,622 for design of a 1.8-mile shared use path around the campus. Another bikeways grant for $55,000 was recently awarded to assist with the design of Bloomsbury Crossing for the Short Line Trail in Catonsville.
In fiscal 2020, Baltimore County will receive $160,000 for pedestrian improvements at Edgemere and Sparrows Point elementary schools.
At MDTA, Governor Hogan'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.
The MDTA also is upgrading toll-collection software and modernizing customer service. All-electronic tolling is set to begin in October at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore and the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge in northeast Maryland.
In addition, 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. The study began in January 2017 and will take up to 48 months to complete.
The number of E-ZPass accounts in Baltimore County increased 10.9 percent from fiscal 2018 to fiscal 2019. Transactions on the I-95 Express Toll Lanes increased 5.69 percent for a total of more than 9.9 million.
Secretary Rahn said he was pleased to continue working with Baltimore 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. Secretary Rahn 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 at Towson University was the first 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.