FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: MDOT Public Affairs
David Broughton, 410-865-1029
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
Transportation Officials Outline Budget and Provide Key Project Updates
EASTON, MD (October 4, 2022) – Maryland Transportation Secretary James F. Ports, Jr., and other representatives of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) met today with Talbot County officials to discuss MDOT's six-year Draft FY 2023-2028 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP). The Draft CTP calls for a record $19.9 billion six-year investment to replace and repair aging infrastructure, expand transit opportunities, support Maryland's economic recovery and preserve and expand the state's transportation network.
The Draft FY 2023-2028 CTP is nearly $2.2 billion more than the Final FY 2022-2027 CTP, and utilizes $1.3 billion in additional federal formula funds from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed by Congress last fall, as well as improved post-pandemic revenue estimates and an increased share of state corporate income tax revenue allocated to MDOT.
“This is Maryland's largest six-year capital transportation budget ever," said Secretary Ports. “The Draft CTP invests wisely in Maryland's future and makes good use of additional federal funding and other resources to create jobs, support the state economy, deliver priority projects and provide hundreds of millions of dollars more in Highway User Revenues to local jurisdictions."
Each year, MDOT officials conduct a tour of all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City to update local officials and the public on the Draft CTP and its investments in MDOT business units funded by the state's Transportation Trust Fund: Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA), State Highway Administration (SHA), Maryland Port Administration (MPA), Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and The Secretary's Office. At the meeting in Talbot County, officials also discussed the Maryland Transportation Authority's (MDTA) $2.6 billion in additional investments in state toll roads and bridges.
The Draft FY 2023-2028 CTP proposes to invest 35% of the six-year budget, or $6.9 billion, on system preservation to achieve and maintain a state of good repair for state roads, bridges, transit, airports and Maryland's Port of Baltimore. That investment is $800 million more than last year's CTP package.
Secretary Ports said the Draft CTP provides a dramatic increase in transportation and infrastructure funding for local governments through the state's Highway User Revenue program.
As a result of the bipartisan agreement Governor Larry Hogan negotiated with lawmakers during the 2022 Maryland General Assembly session, HUR funding for local jurisdictions will increase incrementally from FY 2024 to FY 2027. Overall, jurisdictions will receive a projected increase of 33% over the next six years to help advance transportation priorities and provide matching funds to capitalize on federal grants.
Secretary Ports noted that the majority of federal funding coming to Maryland through the IIJA was the state's regular formula funding already allocated in the Final FY 2022-2027 CTP.
However, the Draft FY 2023-2028 CTP does program $1.3 billion in “new" IIJA federal formula funding: $166 million for transit, $178 million for airports and $966 million for highways. These allocations are based on the federal formula outlined in the IIJA by the Federal Government.
He said MDOT is continuing to work closely with federal partners on criteria to program additional projects for transit and highways, and some additional funding may be available to state and local jurisdictions through discretionary grants that are part of IIJA and other longstanding federal grant programs. MDOT will continue to work with local jurisdictions as they apply for available grants.
Secretary Ports said the additional IIJA funding will aid long-term state of good repair investments and fulfill Governor Hogan's commitment to advance at least one new priority project in every county and Baltimore City. For Talbot County, the Draft FY 2023-2028 CTP includes IIJA funding toward several county priorities, including a study of MD 328 between US 50 and Black Dog Alley to identify safety, access and mobility needs. In addition, reconstruction of the signal at US 50 at Chapel Road will address bicycle and pedestrian accessibility and safety, and lighting upgrades along US 50 at MD 322 north and MD 322 south will improve nighttime visibility and safety.
Secretary Ports said under Governor Hogan's leadership, MDOT has accomplished a great deal over the last eight years, including improvements to make Maryland roads and bridges safer and less congested. In terms of bridges, the state has repaired or replaced all 69 poorly rated spans that were identified in 2015. Today, MDOT has 26 poorly rated bridges – a historical low – and all are under construction, funded for construction or in design.
The secretary also noted investments that have focused on new technologies and expansion of Maryland job market and economy, including:
- MDTA's conversion to all-electronic tolling across the state;
- infrastructure investments at Maryland's Port of Baltimore that helped keep the state's supply chain open and flowing during the pandemic; and
- dramatic expansion of cargo activities at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. BWI is now handling more air cargo than Reagan National and Dulles airports combined.
Regarding highways, SHA Administrator Tim Smith discussed the agency's work to maintain and expand the state's highway network to meet current and future needs. He stressed SHA's focus on the foundational goals of accessibility, mobility and asset management – ensuring the state's highway infrastructure is in a state of good repair and utilizing new technologies and innovative strategies.
Administrator Smith also emphasized SHA's continued collaboration and partnership with the county.
Last fall, SHA kicked off the MD 33 pedestrian safety and access project in St. Michaels. This project includes reconstructing sidewalks to standards complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) from Spencer Avenue to Lee Street and resurfacing Talbot Street. SHA anticipates project completion next summer.
MDTA reminds customers to settle Video Toll bills: 57 more days left before November 30 deadline
MDTA Executive Director Will Pines gave an update on the $28 million Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study, Tier 2, which Governor Hogan launched in June. The Tier 2 study is part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, and is expected to last four to five years. It will build on findings from the Tier 1 study, which identified Corridor 7, the corridor containing the existing Bay Bridge, as the Selected Corridor Alternative. MDTA recently held a series of open house events to inform residents and other stakeholders of the Tier 2 schedule and opportunities for feedback. More details are available at baycrossingstudy.com.
Those with outstanding Video Toll bills from Maryland toll bridges and roads have 57 more days remaining in MDTA's civil penalty waiver grace period, which started in February and continues through 11:59 p.m. November 30, 2022. For every Video Toll transaction paid in full during the grace period, the civil penalty is waived.
The agency stopped referring unpaid toll bills to the Central Collection Unit (CCU) and to MVA during the grace period. Starting December 1, 2022, referrals to CCU and the MVA will start back up, and customers will be responsible for the full amounts of all unpaid tolls – as well as the civil penalties – which will be due based on the printed due dates. He said call volumes and wait times have been greatly reduced, and customers can go to https://csc.driveezmd.com/pay-tolls-now or call 1-866-320-9995 for assistance.
The new Bay Bridge automated lane closure system will be operational this fall and will improve safety and efficiency during the opening and closing of lanes – including during two-way traffic operations on the bridge. The system includes new, large overhead lane-use signals, full-color message signs, illuminated pavement markers and automated lane closure gates.
In addition, pre-construction services are underway for the Bay Bridge eastbound deck replacement project, with major construction expected to begin next year. The majority of the work will take place off peak, including overnight hours, to minimize traffic and local impacts.
MTA focuses on state of good repair, safety, reliability
MTA Office of Local Transit Director Travis Johnston discussed the agency's investments and priorities throughout the state, including investments that ensure the transit system remains safe and reliable. Over the past three years, MTA has significantly reduced a backlog of projects needed to support the system's state of good repair, and MTA recently outlined a plan to achieve 98% of those needs by 2031.
MTA makes a significant investment in transit in Talbot by providing nearly $1.1 million in operating and capital grants to support Delmarva Community Transit in conjunction with Caroline and Kent counties.
MVA's Customer Connect makes more services available online
MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer told officials that MVA continues to operate by appointment only at its branches, and serves 75% of branch customers within 15 minutes of their appointment. The agency also now offers more transactions online than ever before. MVA's Customer Connect system enhances online transactions and gives customers a complete view of their status and history in a single profile. Customers can access features through myMVA.
In May, Maryland became the second state to launch its Maryland Mobile ID in Apple Wallet. Maryland Mobile ID is a voluntary, secure, digitized version of a Maryland driver's license or ID. It's available in the Apple Wallet app or Apple Watch.
Administrator Nizer discussed the Hogan Administration's recent announcement of more than $30,000 for Talbot County agencies to address highway safety. She also provided an update on MVA's work to help Marylanders meet the federal REAL ID requirement by the May 3, 2023, deadline. Currently 87% of Marylanders are REAL ID compliant.
BWI and Port of Baltimore rebound from the pandemic, chart a course for the future
MAA Regional Aviation Assistance Director Ashish Solanki said passenger traffic at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport continues to rebound, trending at about 80% of pre-pandemic levels. Three new airlines started service at BWI in recent months, and several new or returning international and domestic airline routes have been added this year.
BWI Marshall has several capital projects underway that will add new services and amenities for our customers, including a new aircraft maintenance facility for Southwest Airlines, the new Concourse A/B Connector and Baggage Handling System, and an extensive restroom improvement program. IIJA funds will advance important airfield improvement projects at BWI Marshall and Martin State airports.
MAA is continuing to support the 35 public-use airports that serve communities across the state, and will administer $3.5 million in state grants during Fiscal Year 2023 for regional airports, including $325,000 in funding for Easton Airport to support replacement of the Automated Weather Observation System and design work for runway improvements.
Kristen Fidler, MPA Director of Harbor Development, said while the international shipping industry continues to deal with pandemic impacts, Maryland's Port of Baltimore has added new services, welcomed diverted ships from other ports and is working with partner Ports America Chesapeake to accommodate current and future cargo demands. This year the port put into operation four new ultra-large, Neo-Panamax cranes to serve massive ships arriving at the port's newest 50-foot-deep berth.
The port is also advancing the Howard Street Tunnel expansion project, which will allow for double-stack container rail cars to and from the port. The project is a partnership between state, local and federal agencies, as well as CSX. When completed, it will provide double-stack capacity from Maine to Florida, and allow the port to send double-stacked containers by rail into the Ohio Valley and onto Chicago. The project will increase business through the port by about 160,000 additional containers per year, and generate about 7,300 new jobs from the increased business.
Director Fidler also touted the upcoming start of the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Restoration project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project will rebuild James and Barren islands off Dorchester County using sediment dredged from shipping channels, and will restore wildlife and provide shoreline protection to help future erosion.