11/01/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/01/2019 09:05
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 1, 2019
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
MDOT MEETS WITH PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY
LEADERS AS PART OF ANNUAL STATEWIDE TOUR
TO DISCUSS TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES
Transportation Officials Announce Local Grants and Key Project Updates
(Upper Marlboro, MD) - Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn met with Prince George's 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 $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.
Secretary Rahn outlined key updates on transportation investments in Prince George's 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.
In addition to these projects, the secretary announced an increase in funding through Highway User Revenues, made possible by bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan last year. Prince George's County will receive $14.53 million in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of $1,9 million over last year's allocation.
MDOT team members representing the agency's business units were: Secretary Rahn; Administrator Chrissy Nizer from 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 Ricky Smith from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); and Executive Director Jim Ports from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).
MDOT MTA continues to further work on the $5.6 billion Purple Line, the largest transit public-private partnership in the nation. Prince George's County is a partner in the project. The Purple Line is more than 20 percent complete; 12 of the alignment's 16 miles are under construction.
MDOT MTA makes additional investments in transit in Prince George's County through the operation of MARC train service, Commuter Bus service and by providing $15.4 million in operating and capital grants to support the local 'The Bus' transit operation. Local transit funding includes heavy-duty bus replacements for transit operations.
The MDOT MTA investment of $54 million to overhaul 63 MARC III passenger coaches is underway. The entire fleet will be overhauled by 2021. The project includes upgraded seats, communications, air brakes, HVAC and doors. MDOT MTA also invested $61 million for eight new MARC locomotives.
Secretary Rahn and MDOT SHA Administrator Slater provided updates on the I-495/I-270 Public-Private Partnership (P3) Program, designed to alleviate congestion on two of the busiest highways in the region. The National Environmental Protection Act managed lanes study is underway.
Public workshops are scheduled this month that will focus on pre-NEPA activities for a portion of I-270. In the meantime, MDOT continues to build the workforce development program known as Opportunity MDOT.
MDOT also is moving forward with plans to incorporate regional transit into the project. Prince George's County is represented on a regional Transit Work Group that is discussing options. Additionally, MDOT committed to dedicating a portion of the state's future toll revenue-sharing proceeds to regional transit projects; allow transit buses to use future toll lanes for free; and study the feasibility of a monorail.
MDOT SHA has a number of projects underway in Prince George's County, including the rehabilitation of the Temple Hill Road Bridge over I-495. The $5 million project addresses one of the 69 poorly rated bridges that Governor Larry Hogan identified in 2015.
MDOT SHA recently completed Phase 1 of the MD 500/Queens Chapel Road urban reconstruction project from MD 208 (Hamilton Street) to MD 410 (East-West Highway/Adelphi Road). MDOT SHA coordinated with the community to modify the original design to include additional turn options, including an eastbound left-turn lane to access Redeemer Lutheran Church.
Construction on Phase 2 of the MD 500-Community Safety and Enhancement Project, from Eastern Avenue to MD 208 (Hamilton Street), will begin later this year. The project supports current and future development in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, and addresses safety concerns throughout the corridor while improving multiple modes of transportation.
In July, MDOT SHA advertised the US 1 reconstruction project for construction. The $38 million project will reconstruct the existing five-lane, undivided US 1 between College Avenue and MD 193 to include four travel lanes, buffered bicycle lanes, sidewalks and a raised median. MDOT SHA worked with utility partners to accelerate utility relocations and constructions, cutting a full year off the original schedule. Completion is anticipated in 2023.
Last winter, construction began on a $32 million project to replace the I-95 bridges over MD 214. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2021. To continue addressing poorly rated bridges, work is also underway on a $36 million project to replace the I-95 bridges over Suitland Road. The project is set to be complete by late fall 2020.
Nearly a mile away, work continues on the I-95 bridges over Suitland Parkway. This $36 million project is scheduled to be complete by spring 2022. Also on Suitland Parkway, work continues on a new $133 million interchange at MD 4. The project aims to relieve existing traffic congestion and accommodate increased traffic anticipated with development in the area.
A new interchange is also under construction in Brandywine, improving safety for travelers using MD 5, Accokeek Road, and Brandywine Road. The $56 million project includes the addition of a new service road, a new bridge over MD 5, and a park-and-ride lot to reduce congestion in the MD 5 corridor. The project is slated to be complete in summer 2020.
Construction is progressing on the $117 million MD 210 interchange at Kerby Hill and Livingston roads. The new interchange will carry both roads over MD 210, eliminating two traffic signals. MDOT SHA implemented a detour in October 2019, which is expected to be in place until the project is finished by the end of 2021.
MDOT SHA is working with local partners to evaluate engineering, education, enforcement, and equitable solutions to address pedestrian and bicycle safety along state highways as part of Maryland's Vision Zero Plan. Vision Zero was passed to achieve zero fatalities on Maryland roads by 2030.
MDOT SHA and its partners are delivering bicycle and pedestrian projects using the Transportation Alternatives and Bikeways grant programs. Currently, MDOT SHA is partnering on 14 projects totaling $3.9 million in federal grant funds, and five projects totaling $520,000 in state grant funds. These include projects such as Phase 1 of the Central Avenue Connector Trail and the Hollywood Road Sidewalk Design project.
MDOT SHA Administrator Slater announced $250,000 for the Chamber Avenue Green Street/Complete Street Project in the Capitol Heights area, including traffic calming and stormwater measures, and work to help bring sidewalks, curbs and pedestrian crossings to ADA compliance. In addition, he announced $82,000 for bike and pedestrian upgrades as part of the University Park Traffic Safety Improvement Plan. This grant is under the Safe Routes to School program.
MDOT MVA Administrator Nizer provided an update on federal REAL ID compliance, noting that 55 percent of Prince George's County residents are REAL ID Ready in advance of the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline. He also touted the fact that MDOT MVA employees have received a 98 percent satisfaction rating from customers
Secretary Rahn highlighted the 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 $100,000 in state funding for obstruction removal at College Park Airport.
The $27 million Bay Bridge rehabilitation project was also discussed. Work includes deck repairs, sealing the deck and replacing lane signal gantries and steel rail posts. To help keep traffic flowing, MDTA has implemented cashless tolling at the bright during certain periods, and is working to make that practice full time. In cashless tolling at the Bay Bridge, tolls are collected via E-ZPass and video tolling. Drivers who usually pay with cash can move through the plaza without stopping. They are mailed a statement and are charged the cash rate.
Governor Hogan recently instructed MDTA to shorten the duration of the Bay Bridge project and mitigate its impacts on traffic. Extra crews have started working around the clock, seven days a week. The contractor has agreed to work through Thanksgiving week.
Also 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.
MDTA is upgrading toll-collection software and modernizing customer service. All-electronic tolling is underway at the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge and the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.
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 three corridors and a 'no-build' option now being reviewed. Information is available at baycrossingstudy.com.
Secretary Rahn commended Prince George's County officials for completing the state's first Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Maryland experienced 513 roadway fatalities in 2018. The state'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: mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/SafetyPledge.html.
The meeting at the Prince George's County Administration Building was the 20th 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.