10/03/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2019 09:10
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 3, 2019
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
MDOT OFFICIALS MEET WITH WASHINGTON COUNTY
AS PART OF ANNUAL STATEWIDE TOUR
TO DISCUSS TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES
TransportationOfficials Announce Key Project Updates
(Hagerstown, MD) - Deputy Transportation Secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr. met with Washington 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, Motor Vehicle Administration facilities, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, and the 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 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.
Deputy Secretary Lewis outlined key updates on transportation investments in Washington County and across Maryland. Statewide, there are 718 airport, highway, transit, port, bicycle, and MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) construction projects underway, with a value of $7.2 billion.
In addition to these projects, Deputy Secretary Lewis announced an increase in funding through Highway User Revenues, made possible by bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan last year. Washington County will receive $4.37 million in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of more than $570,000 over last year's allocation.
MDOT team members representing the agency's business units were: Deputy Transportation Secretary Lewis; Regional Aviation Assistance Director Ashish Solanki from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); Administrator Chrissy Nizer from MDOT MVA; Local Transit Support Director Travis Johnston from the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA); and Administrator Greg Slater from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA).
MDOT MTA makes a significant transit investment in Washington County through inter-city bus service, Commuter Bus service, and by providing $2.1 million in operating and capital grants to support the local community. This will include replacement of a medium-duty bus and ongoing preventive maintenance. Additionally, $511,000 is given to nonprofits that provide important transportation services to seniors and people with disabilities in the county.
Washington County also was awarded $83,141 in operating funds for fiscal 2020-2022 through Maryland Job Access and Reverse Commute (MD-JARC). The funding will allow for the expansion of service hours to employment areas in the New Gate/Hunter's Green corridor of the Hagerstown area.
Deputy Secretary Lewis 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.
For fiscal 2020, MDOT MAA will provide $2.48 million in state support for Maryland's public-use airports, including $355,000 to Hagerstown Regional Airport to support a terminal expansion.
Transportation officials provided an update on road major projects in Washington County, including the upgrading and widening of Interstate 81 from US 11 in West Virginia to MD 63/MD 68 in Maryland. The $103 million project, which began in fall 2016, also includes widening and upgrading the bridges over the Potomac River, as well as the bridges over MD 63/MD 68. The project is 80 percent complete and expected to be finished in fall 2020.
MDOT SHA next spring will begin a $29 million replacement and widening of the I-70/MD 65 bridges. The project, which will replace one of the 69 poorly rated bridges identified by Gov. Hogan in 2015, will accommodate a future planned interchange at MD 65.
Locally, MDOT SHA continues to work closely with the town of Keedysville on a project that will improve pedestrian safety along Main Street. The project includes construction of ADA-compliant sidewalks and sidewalk ramps, along with pedestrian lighting. The $5.1 million project is expected to be completed in fall 2020.
In Hagerstown, MDOT SHA is completing a $1.7 million sidewalk project on US 40 between Walnut Street and Eastern Boulevard. The project is expected to be completed by late fall 2020.
MDOT is working with state, county and local partners to deliver bicycle and pedestrian projects using Transportation Alternatives, Recreation Trails and Bikeways grant programs. Currently, MDOT is partnering on 14 projects totaling $12.7 million in federal grant funds and four projects totaling $700,000 in state grant funds.
Deputy Secretary Lewis congratulated Washington County and the Town of Williamsport for the restoration of the Conococheague Aqueduct. MDOT directed more than $720,000 in state funds through the Maryland Bikeways Program and $6.2 million in federal funding for the project.
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 northeastern 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.
Deputy Secretary Lewis said he was pleased to continue working with Washington 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 in Maryland: impaired driving; speeding; not wearing seat belts; distracted driving; and not using crosswalks. Deputy Secretary Lewis 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 in Hagerstown was the eighth 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.
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.
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