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Maryland DOT update on County transportation issues

| November 10, 2019, 10:21 AM

Rams Head

Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn met with Anne Arundel County officials last Monday 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. The 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 $16 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.

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Rams Head

“We have delivered a record program in record time and will continue improving our services to Marylanders,” said MDOT 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 Anne Arundel 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. Anne Arundel County will receive $8,130,587 in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of $585,696 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); Executive Director Jim Ports from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA); and Harbor Development Director Kristen Fidler from the MDOT Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA).

The $27 million Bay Bridge rehabilitation project was one of the main topics of conversation. The project involves replacing the deck surface of the westbound span right lane. Work includes deck repairs, sealing the deck and replacing existing lane signal gantries and steel rail posts. To help keep traffic flowing, MDTA has implemented cashless tolling during certain periods, when 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 project and mitigate its impacts on traffic. Extra crews have started working around the clock, seven days a week. Crews also have begun making repairs simultaneously in multiple work zones in different areas of the lane. MDTA is working to make cashless tolling full-time, and is exploring alternate milling methods and overlay materials that may speed up the project further. As part of this commitment, 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 began Oct. 16 at the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge and Oct. 30 at the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

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. Public open houses, including two in Anne Arundel County, were held in recent weeks. Updates and additional information is available at baycrossingstudy.com.

MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in transit in Anne Arundel County, including the operation of 10 commuter bus routes to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore; MARC train service; Light RailLink service; and five BaltimoreLink bus routes.

This year, MDOT MTA is providing $3.78 million in operating and capital grants to support transit systems in Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis. This includes three medium-duty transit replacement buses for the county and two medium-duty transit replacement buses, office furniture and preventative maintenance for Annapolis. In addition, MDOT MTA provides more than $900,000 to support to nonprofits that transport seniors and people with disabilities, including $210,300 in operating grants to Partners in Care.

Secretary Rahn 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.

MDOT MVA Administrator Nizer provided an update on federal REAL ID compliance, noting that 53 percent of Anne Arundel County residents are REAL ID Ready in advance of the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline. She also touted the fact that MDOT MVA employees have received a 98 percent customer satisfaction rating.

MDOT SHA has a number of projects underway in Anne Arundel County, including the installation of Smart Traffic Signals to monitor real-time traffic conditions, as well as computer software that adjusts the timing of traffic signals and synchronizes those signals. MDOT SHA completed Smart Traffic Signal installations on MD 2 from the Annapolis Harbour Center to Tarragon Lane, and on MD 3 from MD 450 to St. Stephens Church Road. Smart Traffic Signals are also being installed on MD 2 from the MDOT MVA entrance to MD 270; on MD 2 from Arnold Road to Jumpers Hole Road; and on MD 450 from MD 178 to MD 2.

In anticipation of the newly constructed Annapolis library opening in 2020, MDOT SHA will install a new High Intensity Activated Crosswalk beacon on West Street. The improvement will consolidate three unsignalized crosswalks and include a median refuge island to enhance pedestrian safety.

The MD 171 safety and resurfacing project from MD 2 to the Baltimore City line, which also includes upgrades to sidewalks and ADA-compliant ramps, is now complete. The MD 424 sidewalk construction between Duke of Kent Drive and MD 450 is underway.

Construction is also underway for the $1.8 million MD 174 intersection improvement project in Severn. The project, scheduled for completion in late summer, is designed to improve traffic operations and safety.

MDOT SHA in fall 2020 plans to advertise a $73 million project to reconstruct the interchange at MD 175 and MD 295. Work includes roadway widening. In addition, final paving is ongoing for a one-mile widening project on MD 175 between Disney and Reece roads. The project will add travel lanes, improve traffic flow and provide pedestrian and bicycle amenities.

MDOT SHA recently replaced a culvert on MD 450 near Bacon Ridge Branch to address recurring flooding. And over the summer, crews resurfaced MD 295 between MD 100 and MD 175 to address pavement conditions.

Secretary Rahn commended Anne Arundel County officials for working on a 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 Arundel Center was the 21st 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: 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 photos on Flickr.

Rams Head

Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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