September 27, 2019
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
Transportation Officials Announce Key Project Updates
(Baltimore, MD) – Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn today met with Baltimore City 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 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 City 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 City will receive nearly $158 million in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of $5.3 million compared to last year.
MDOT team members representing the agency's business units were: Transportation Secretary Rahn; 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); Planning and Program Development Director Melissa Williams 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 transit services in Baltimore City through the operation of 56 BaltimoreLink bus routes, Metro SubwayLink, Light RailLink, MobilityLink, MARC train service, and seven Commuter Bus routes. In addition, MDOT MTA provides $2 million in operating funds to support the Charm City Circulator and $81,500 for the Rideshare program.
Earlier this month, MDOT officials gathered to celebrate the reopening of the Camden MARC station after a $7.2 million reconstruction project.
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. Officials said that more than 5.5 miles of dedicated lanes for BaltimoreLink have improved travel times up to 32 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 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 app, making more than 1 million CharmPass purchases.
As part of the inaugural Statewide Transit Innovation Grant program (STIG), Baltimore City was awarded $112,000 to install curb extensions that improve pedestrian safety and reduce bus delays.
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.
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 Oct. 30 at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore and Oct. 16 at the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge at the Harford/Cecil county line.
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 City increased 14 percent from fiscal 2018 to fiscal 2019.
Secretary Rahn said he was pleased to continue working with Baltimore City 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
Officials and residents met at City Hall. The CTP meetings are being held at various locations in all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City. To view the full 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.