Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published February 18, 2011


Maryland Lets USDOT Secretary Know Federal High-Speed Rail Dollars are Welcome Here

ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 18, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley is letting U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood know that if other states don’t want federal dollars for high-speed rail, Maryland does. Florida Governor Rick Scott announced a decision this week to return $2.4 billion in federal rail funding for his state. As a follow-up to a meeting last week with Secretary LaHood, Governor O’Malley seized the opportunity to make Maryland’s case in a letter sent to the Secretary today.

“Transportation infrastructure projects, including passenger rail, offer a path to economic recovery and a stronger, more competitive future for Maryland and the nation,” said Governor O’Malley. “We stand ready to work with Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration and other states along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor to initiate additional planning and construction projects that create jobs and are so vital to the Corridor.”

Read Governor O’Malley’s letter to Secretary LaHood here.

Governor O’Malley assured Secretary LaHood that Marylanders appreciate the value of investing in rail. Citing the large scale need for funding to improve the Northeast Corridor, which is the nation’s only existing high speed rail corridor, he called for the award of over $1.25 billion in construction funding to complete the B&P Tunnel replacement in Baltimore and the BWI Rail Station project which includes the addition of a fourth track and the redevelopment of the station, platforms and pedestrian access.

In addition to requesting funding to complete the tunnel and station projects, which would support and create over 9,100 jobs in planning and construction, O’Malley also sought investments for three additional projects that were submitted as part of the original competition for federal funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program (ARRA HSIPR). These projects, described below, total over $2.3 billion in planning and construction costs and will contribute directly to more than 16,000 jobs.

With close to a third of the population of the United States in reach of the Northeast Corridor, federal funding for projects in Maryland will help the nation meet President Obama’s goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.

Specifics on priority rail projects for Maryland are listed below:

· B&P Tunnel Replacement: Maryland was selected for $60 million to advance the engineering and studies for a new rail the engineering and studies to advance replacement of Reconstruction-era passenger rail tunnel to improve safety and capacity. The State is working with Amtrak and the FRA to complete the grant agreement and allow Amtrak to proceed with the study work. Significant additional funding is needed to complete the design and construction of the project. Total projected cost: $1.05 billion.

· BWI Rail Station/Platform/Track Redevelopment: Maryland has executed a grant agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration to apply $9.4 million in federal ARRA HSIPR funding and has begun work on station building, platforms and pedestrian access improvements to allow boarding on up to four tracks at the BWI Rail Station, and to advance extensions of the additional track for nine miles to help increase throughput and service reliability for intercity service. Significant additional funding is needed to complete design and construction of the project. Total projected cost: $262 million

· Chesapeake Connector: Funding is needed for the engineering, studies and construction of a grade separation and a third track from Perryville to Elkton to improve Amtrak and freight capacity. Total projected cost: $210 million

· Northern Maryland Capacity and Trip Time Improvement Program: Funding is needed for the engineering, studies and construction to replace three railroad bridges over the Bush, Susquehanna and Gunpowder rivers and to complete the track structures. Total projected cost: $2.1 billion

· Brunswick: Funding is needed for the construction and improvement of a rail interlocking and replacement of obsolete electronics with microprocessors between Silver Spring and Brunswick, MD. This project would expand capacity, improve safety and improve service reliability on a growing freight corridor that is utilized by Amtrak intercity trains and MARC commuter rail trains. Total projected cost: $18.3 million.

Read Governor O’Malley’s letter to Secretary LaHood here.