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Date: Nov 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dec. 5, 2013

Contact:           Cheryl M. Sparks

                        410-537-1017                             

 

**REVISED - MEETING DATE CHANGE**

MDTA RECOMMENDS ADOPTING I-95 EXPRESS TOLL LANES

TOLLING PLAN PROPOSED IN SEPTEMBER

MDTA Board to Take Final Action on Dec. 19

 

BALTIMORE, MD – Based on careful review of input gathered during the Sept. 19 to Nov. 4, 2013, public comment period and three public hearings, MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) staff today recommended adopting the I-95 Express Toll Lanes (ETL) tolling plan that the MDTA Board proposed on Sept.19. 

The staff-recommended mileage rate ranges for two-axle vehicles (passenger vehicles, motorcycles and light trucks) are $0.25 to $0.35 per-mile for proposed peak periods, $0.20 to $0.30 per-mile for off-peak periods and $0.10 to $0.30 per-mile for overnight periods.  (NOTE: tolled distance is seven miles.) 

The staff recommendation will be reviewed and then considered for adoption by the MDTA Board on Dec.19.  Members of the public are encouraged to attend and provide comments to the Board at the Dec. 19 meeting, which will begin at 9 a.m. at the I-95 ETL Project Office, 8019 Corporate Drive, Suite F, in White Marsh, Md. 

Once the Board approves the tolling plan, the actual ETL toll rates will be set by MDTA’s Executive Secretary Bruce Gartner within the approved mileage rate ranges.  MDTA Chairman James T. Smith, Jr., and Board Members have urged the Executive Secretary to set the rates at the low end of the ranges.

The $1.08 billion I-95 Improvement Project includes $756 million in significant highway and safety enhancements and the construction of two new ETL in each direction of I-95, adjacent to the existing four general-purpose (non-tolled) lanes, between I-895 and just north of MD 43 (White Marsh Boulevard).  The I-95 ETL are “through” lanes for drivers traveling to destinations north and south of I-695/Baltimore Beltway.  The MDTA anticipates opening the I-95 ETL to traffic in late 2014.

Major I-95 safety upgrades include:

·         reconfigured three major I-95 interchanges (I-895, I-695 and MD 43) to improve traffic operations and enhance safety;

·         eliminated left-hand exits from the general-purpose lanes at the I-695 interchange;

·         modified the traffic pattern on southbound I-95 at I-895, giving priority movement to the majority of motorists who continue along I-95; and

·         replaced two structurally deficient bridges at MD 43.

The Sept.19 public notice with the specifics on the proposed tolling plan is attached.  Visit mdta.maryland.gov to view the staff recommendation, public-comment summary and ETL map.  Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 25, 2013

Contact:  Cheryl M. Sparks, 410-537-1017       

      

MDTA NAMES BRUCE W. GARTNER

AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

 

BALTIMORE, MD – The MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) Board has named Bruce W. Gartner to lead the 1,700-employee agency that oversees the State’s eight toll facilities and the E-ZPass Maryland system effective Dec. 11.  Mr. Gartner has been serving a dual role since June 2013 when he was named Acting MDTA Executive Secretary while also serving as Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy and Freight for the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT).

“Bruce has a keen sense of policy development, fiscal responsibility and the legislative process at both the state and federal levels,” said MDTA Chairman and Maryland Transportation Secretary James T. Smith, Jr.  “He never hesitates to roll up his sleeves, put in the long hours and get the job done.  His extensive experience with Maryland’s transportation system will serve our citizens well as the MDTA continues significant investments to preserve and enhance our State’s tunnels, toll roads and signature bridges.”

Mr. Gartner has nearly 24 years of experience in transportation policy management.  Before being named Director of MDOT’s Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs in 2007, he served at the MDTA as its Director of Strategic Development for four years.  Mr. Gartner also served in several other roles at MDOT, including State Legislative Officer and Operating Budget Manager.  Prior to joining MDOT, he worked as the transportation budget analyst for the Maryland General Assembly. 

As MDTA Executive Secretary, Mr. Gartner manages the agency’s daily operations, including the nationally accredited MDTA Police; a $270 million annual operating budget; and $2.2 billion six-year capital program.  He also works with MDTA Board members to establish policy and direction for the agency. 

“I’m incredibly honored to have the trust of the Chairman and Board members and am excited to once again be a full-time part of the MDTA team,” said Mr. Gartner.  “We’re a public-service agency that’s 1,700 strong and doing great things for Maryland. I look forward to building on MDTA’s efforts to improve customer service, safety, efficient travel and financial stewardship.”

A resident of Annapolis, Mr. Gartner graduated from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Science in Public Policy Analysis.

 The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is an independent State agency that   finances, owns and operates the State’s eight toll facilities. The MDTA’s Board members, appointed by the Governor with consent of the State Senate, serve as the agency’s policy-setting and governing body.  Maryland’s Secretary of Transportation serves as MDTA Chairman.
Follow the MDTA at mdta.maryland.gov, twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA .

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 21, 2013

Contact:          Cheryl Sparks or Kelly Melhem

 410-537-1017

 

GOVERNOR O’MALLEY ANNOUNCES $50 MILLION

TO REPLACE NICE BRIDGE OVER POTOMAC RIVER

Funds for design and right of way advance project

to replace 72-year-old, two-lane bridge

 

BALTIMORE, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) Board has approved an additional $50 million in its final six-year capital program (FY 2014 – FY 2019) to fund initial design and right-of-way acquisition for the project to replace the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301), which connects Charles County, Md., and King George County, Va., across the Potomac River. 

“Together, with the support of local elected officials and federal partners, we are making a significant down payment on a wider, safer and more pedestrian-friendly Nice Bridge,” said Governor O’Malley.  “Southern Maryland residents have long waited for a new bridge, and this $50 million investment brings the new bridge one step closer to reality.  There is more work to be done, but I commend the leadership of U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer and Maryland Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton for working with the State to advance this crucial project.”

The new four-lane bridge will be built parallel to, and north of, the existing bridge.  The new bridge also will have a two-way bicycle / pedestrian path.  The existing bridge will be removed upon completion of the new bridge.  A designated path on each shore will guide bicyclists and pedestrians to the appropriate outside shoulder along US 301.  Currently, 17,900 vehicles cross the bridge each day, with traffic projected to increase to 37,000 vehicles per day by 2030.  The planning phase of the project was completed in fall 2012.

“I’m pleased Governor O’Malley announced today $50 million in funding for design and right-of-way acquisition for the Nice Bridge replacement, which will benefit Southern Maryland residents, businesses, and commuters once completed,” stated Congressman Hoyer. “Improving our infrastructure and ensuring that it is safer and more user-friendly is critically important to spurring economic growth in our communities. I thank the O’Malley-Brown Administration for making the bridge replacement a top priority and look forward to working with the Administration, the Maryland Congressional Delegation, Senator Mac Middleton, and others to see this replacement through to completion.”

“I am immensely grateful for the Transportation Authority’s action to allocate $50 million to the Harry Nice Bridge project,” said Senator Middleton.  “This is one giant step in making the bridge replacement a reality. I will continue to work with the Authority to move this project forward as money becomes available and appreciate that it has been identified as their number one expansion priority.”

With today’s announcement, the MDTA plans to spend $56.1 million between fiscal years 2014-2019 for initial design and the purchase of right of way needed in both Maryland and Virginia for a new Nice Bridge. The initial design work will determine the type of bridge structure and where the bridge’s support piers would be placed in the Potomac River, among other design elements.

Construction of the new bridge is estimated to cost nearly $1 billion.  The project is not currently funded for construction.

Follow the MDTA at mdta.maryland.gov, twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 20, 2013

Contact:          Cheryl M. Sparks or John Sales

 410-537-1017

 

BUSY THANKSGIVING WEEK ANTICIPATED AT MARYLAND’S TOLL FACILITIES

 

 

BALTIMORE, MD -- As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds motorists to travel during off-peak hours, stay alert and Know Before You Go to avoid travel delays.  Based on traffic counts from previous years, Wednesday is expected to be the heaviest travel day, with many travelers also expected to hit the roads Tuesday.

The MDTA anticipates a one percent increase in traffic volumes compared to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period.  Between Tuesday, Nov. 26, and Sunday, Dec. 1, the MDTA expects more than 2.7 million travelers on its highways, bridges and tunnels:

·         Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95) – more than 735,000 vehicles.

·         John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – more than 682,000 vehicles.

·         William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 449,000 vehicles.

·         An additional 852,000 vehicles are projected to travel the Francis Scott Key Bridge
(I-695), the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895), the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge
(US 40) and the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301) combined. 

All figures represent traffic volumes in both directions.

The MDTA offers the following tips to help motorists reach their destinations safely:

·         Travel during off-peak hours to avoid significant delays.  For the I-95 corridor, off-peak hours include:

  •          Tuesday and Wednesday -- before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.
  •          Thursday through Sunday -- before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

·         The Maryland House Travel Plaza along the JFK Highway is closed for redevelopment and is expected to reopen in winter 2014.  The Chesapeake House remains open for fuel and food services.

·         Game Plan for your travels.

  •          Call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information.  To view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.
  •          Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.
  •          Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions.  Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras at the bridge and to sign up for email alerts.
  •          A hands-free device any traveler will love.  Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.
  •          For current toll rates, visit mdta.maryland.gov and click on Toll Rate Calculator.
  •          Use the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 to get from Gaithersburg to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and cut your travel time in half.

Keeping traffic moving as safely and efficiently as possible is the MDTA’s priority.  The MDTA Police will remain vigilant and target aggressive and impaired drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity.  The MDTA Police and Courtesy Patrols will have additional units on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles.  The MDTA also will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from Tuesday, Nov. 26, to Monday, Dec. 2.

Reminder:

·         The exit ramp from southbound I-895 to Potee Street (Exit 7) in Baltimore City is closed (24/7) for repairs.

·         Please note that access from I-95 to eastbound and westbound MD 43/White Marsh Boulevard (Exit 67) now comes prior to passing under MD 43 on I-95.

For your safety and the safety of other motorists and emergency personnel:

·         Obey posted speed limits and overhead lane-control signals.

·         Devote your full attention to driving – it is illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland.

·         Law requires that every passenger in a moving vehicle be secured with a seat belt or child safety restraint.

·         Keep a safe following distance to avoid rear-end collisions.

·         Keep your eyes on the road – do not sight-see, especially on bridges.

·         Do not change lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.

·         Make sure your vehicle is “road ready.”

·         If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.

·         Move over when passing an emergency situation.  If you are unable to move over, slow down.  This includes maintenance, police, fire, EMS or any emergency vehicle using visual signals while stopped.

·         Drunk Driving. Over the limit. Under Arrest.

In accordance with the State’s budget-reduction plan, MDTA offices will be closed on Friday, Nov. 29, including the E-ZPass Maryland Stop-in Centers and Customer Service Center.  Visit ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824 to sign up for E-ZPass, update account information or make payments via credit card.  Offices will reopen on Monday, Dec. 2.

The MDTA thanks motorists for their patience.  Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!

 

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