Governor Martin O'Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, joined by Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown, today signed theTransportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 (Transportation Act). The legislation will support thousands of jobs and invests an average of $800 million a year at full implementation and a total of $4.4 billion over the next six years (FY 2014 -- FY 2019). As a result of the passage of the legislation, Governor O'Malley was able to announce today the first round of highway and transit projects to be funded with money generated by the Transportation Act.
"Working together with Senate President Miller, Speaker Busch and the members of the General Assembly, we have guaranteed a sustainable transportation funding source that will support more than 57,200 jobs, create a safer, more efficient transportation network, and spur economic development," said Governor O'Malley. "This historic transportation bill allows us to move forward with the first new major transportation projects in more than eight years and get our construction industry back to work. Today, I am pleased to announce $1.2 billion for key new highway and transit projects from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore."
The $1.2 billion in new highway and transit projects are:
-$82 M for construction -- US 15/Monocacy Boulevard Interchange in Frederick County/Western Maryland;
-$125 M for construction -- I-270/Watkins Mill Road Interchange in Montgomery County;
-$100 M for construction -- MD 210 at Kerby Hill Road/Livingston Road Interchange in Prince George's County;
-$20 M for design -- New Thomas Johnson Bridge in Calvert and St. Mary's counties/Southern Maryland;
-$100 M for MARC Enhancements (Penn-weekend service, Camden-weekday 2 new roundtrips, New locomotives) -- Baltimore and Washington, D.C. regions;
-$60 M for construction -- I-695 Leeds Avenue Interchange reconstruction and bridge replacement in Baltimore County;
-$49 M for construction -- US 29 northbound widening to three lanes from Seneca Drive to MD 175 in Howard County;
-$44 M for construction -- Aberdeen Proving Ground BRAC Intersection Improvement in Harford County;
-$54 M for construction -- US 301/MD 304 Interchange in Queen Anne's County/Eastern Shore; and
-Transit Funding for Final Design (Red Line $170M, Purple Line $280M, Corridor Cities Transitway $100M) -- Baltimore and Washington, D.C. regions.
Over the summer months, the State will continue to review project needs and make investment decisions. The Maryland Department of Transportation's draft six-year transportation budget will be published on September 3rd. This budget, known as the Consolidated Transportation Program, will provide a full list of the new projects funded by the Transportation Act. This budget will be posted on MDOT's website at www.mdot.maryland.gov.
The Transportation Act allows the State to activate long-term funding strategies to invest in Maryland's roads and transit systems. By putting people back to work in the transportation industry with this new funding, Maryland will create hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity and provide Marylanders with the transportation infrastructure necessary to grow and prosper for decades to come.
"The D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas are the 1st and 5th most congested in the nation," said Speaker Michael E. Busch. "House Bill 1515 earned the support of numerous business groups and chambers of commerce because our transportation network is the backbone of the State's economy. We worked hard to balance the impact on the consumer with the urgent need to address the State's aging infrastructure and relieve road congestion."
"One of the best ways to continue to attract employers to Maryland is to invest in our infrastructure. This legislation will create thousands of jobs and allow Maryland's economy to continue growing," said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. "Combined with the Public-Private Partnership law that is estimated to create 4,000 jobs, we're sending a clear signal that Maryland is the best place in America to launch and grow a business."
By creating a sustainable transportation funding source that is sensitive to inflation for the first time in Maryland's history, Maryland's Transportation Trust Fund will be able to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for highways, transit and rail and the growing cost of materials and labor needed to build major infrastructure projects. Improving Maryland's infrastructure is vital to quality of life and economic prosperity. Marylanders commute 32 minutes on average to work, the longest commute in the nation, and lose $6.2 billion each year on our congested and deteriorated roads. Furthermore, 95 percent of goods shipped annually from Maryland travel on state roads, and quality infrastructure is a key factor businesses consider in deciding where to locate, invest, expand and create jobs.(Fast Facts Sheet)
In a recently released report, AAA states that average gas prices are down 20 cents statewide and down 22 cents in Baltimore City in the last month alone. Since a year ago, average gas prices are down about 45 cents statewide and in Baltimore City. Bucking normal trends of rising gas prices in the spring and summer, AAA predicts gas prices will continue to decline this summer.