October 11, 2019
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
Transportation Officials Announce Local Grants and Key Project Updates
(Elkton, MD) – Acting Deputy Transportation Secretary Sean Powell met with Cecil 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 state 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 Cecil County and across Maryland. Statewide, there are 718 airport, highway, transit, port, bicycle, and MDOT MVA construction projects underway, with a value of $7.2 billion.
The deputy secretary also announced an increase in funding through Highway User Revenues, made possible by bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan last year. Cecil County will receive more than $2.5 million in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of $280,000 over last year's allocation.
In addition, Cecil County will receive $33,000 in highway safety grant funding through MDOT MVA, including allocations for the Cecil County Sheriff's Office and the Elkton Police Department.
MDOT team members representing the agency's business units were: Acting Deputy Transportation Secretary Powell from The Secretary's Office; Administrator Chrissy Nizer from the MDOT MVA; Local Transit Support Deputy Director Jeannie Fazio 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); Harbor Development Director Kristen Fidler from the MDOT Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA); and Jim Ports, Executive Director of the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).
MDOT SHA is completing several projects in Cecil County, including the MD 273 bridge over Big Elk Creek. The $8.9 million bridge replacement project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2020. The project is part of Gov. Hogan's 2015 commitment to address all poorly rated bridges in the state system.
Also on MD 273, the $2.1 million roundabout project at Blue Ball Road is nearly complete. A sidewalk project along MD 267 in Charlestown is also nearly complete.
Work has resumed on a large project along MD 272 between Rogers Road and US 40. The project will add a dedicated right-turn lane along southbound MD 272 and provide pedestrian facilities from North East Station across US 40 to North East Plaza.
MDOT SHA also is working on a $1.7 million project in Elkton to improve pedestrian access and safety. Crews are adding sidewalks along both sides of US 40 between Delaware and Melbourne avenues, installing pedestrian signals at these intersections and converting Maloney Road to a right-in, right-out configuration to reduce crash potential in the US 40 median.
Just west of Elkton, an estimated $1.8 million improvement at the US 40/Nottingham Road intersection will address safety and access concerns by signalizing the intersection and extending the left-turn lanes. Construction is expected to begin in late summer 2020.
MDOT SHA has allocated $5.2 million for areawide paving, patching and repair projects in Cecil County. Three miles of MD 272 from Warburton to England Creamery roads was recently patched. The resurfacing will restore ride quality to a road that averages more than 8,000 vehicles a day. Additional resurfacing projects include MD 285 from MD 213 to east of Lewis Street in Chesapeake City; and MD 273 in Rising Sun, from the western town limit to Stevens Road, which is now complete.
Administrator Slater said he was pleased that the MD 272 bridge over Amtrak in North East is nearly complete. The $21 million project is set to be completed in spring 2020.
MDOT SHA also is working with state, county and local partners to deliver bicycle and pedestrian projects using Transportation Alternatives and Recreation Trails grant programs. MDOT is partnering on 16 projects in Cecil County totaling $1.9 million in federal grants.
MDTA officials discussed plans to begin all-electronic tolling on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge at Cecil and Harford counties. On that date, cash will no longer be accepted at the bridge; tolls will be collected via E-ZPass and video tolling. Currently, 93 percent of Hatem bridge users are already E-ZPass customers. Cashless tolling will also be implemented on Oct. 30 at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.
MDTA officials also noted that 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.
And a Tier 1 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study of location and funding options for a third Chesapeake Bay crossing is moving forward, with four alternatives – three corridors and a “no-build" option – now being reviewed.
Transportation officials also provided updates on transit funding for Cecil County. MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in the county through Intercity bus service, with a round-trip once a day from Washington, D.C. to Wilmington, Del. The agency also provides MARC Train service, and has allocated $1.36 million in operating and capital grants to support Cecil's local transit system. This includes funding for three small bus replacements, automatic passenger counters, bus wraps and preventive maintenance.
The Cecil County Department of Community Services was awarded $86,000 in operating funds for fiscal years 2020-2022 through a Maryland Job Access and Reverse Commute (MD-JARC) grant. This funding will support expansion of Saturday service to targeted employment areas of the Route 40 Corridor between North East and Perryville. In addition, $71,000 in funding is also being provided to nonprofits that serve the transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities in the county.
At MDOT MVA, Administrator Nizer provided an update on federal REAL ID compliance in Cecil County, noting that 48.5 percent of residents are REAL ID Ready. She also touted the 99 percent overall customer satisfaction rate achieved at the MDOT MVA Elkton branch.
Acting Deputy Secretary Powell 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.
Officials also noted that 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 said he was pleased to continue working with Cecil 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: mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/SafetyPledge.html.
The meeting at the Cecil County Administration Building was the 12th 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 full CTP tour schedule, visit: https://bit.ly/2mhwlHn. To view the Draft CTP, visit: ctp.maryland.gov. 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 mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/News/News.html and view MDOT photos on Flickr.