Skip Navigation

Skip to Main Content

MDTA News Releases

MDTA News Releases with RSS Feed
Date: Aug 2016

GovSeal

For immediate release:
August 30, 2016

 

Governor Hogan Announces Study for New Chesapeake Bay Crossing,
Unveils Maryland's New License Plate

Study to Identify Bay Crossing Location; New Plate Proudly Features Maryland Flag

ANNAPOLIS, MD - Governor Larry Hogan today announced the start of a study that will identify the location and explore potential funding options for a new Chesapeake Bay crossing. The $5 million "Tier 1 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)" Study, which was voted on and approved by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Board last week, will begin this fall and take up to 48 months to complete. Following today's announcement held overlooking the Bay Bridge, Governor Hogan also unveiled a new Maryland license plate design.

"Marylanders all across the state depend on being able to cross the Chesapeake Bay, but the reality is that there is simply too much traffic, and that it will continue to get worse," said Governor Hogan. "This Tier 1 study is the critical first step needed in order to move forward on addressing the long-range issue of future traffic congestion on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge."

NEPA requires state and federal agencies to consider the environmental consequences of proposed projects as part of their decision-making. It provides the flexibility to assess projects in a staged approach. The Tier 1 study will pursue environmental regulatory agency concurrence and agreement from the Eastern Shore counties on one crossing location. The study will include traffic, engineering, and environmental analyses; cost-per-mile estimates; preliminary financing and procurement options; and an economic and land-use study.

"The Bay Bridge can be maintained safely through 2065 with preservation and maintenance work; however, studies show that by 2040, motorists could experience up to 14-mile delays," said Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn. "This is the first step in a long process to address the demand for additional capacity across the Chesapeake Bay."

The MDTA - the agency that finances, owns, operates, and maintains the state's eight toll facilities - will conduct the study, and more information will be available on mdta.maryland.gov as the Tier 1 NEPA study progresses. Extensive public and community outreach efforts will include focus groups, listening tours, public workshops, a project website, newsletters, and fact sheets.

Following the announcement, Governor Hogan unveiled Maryland's new license plate design, which will feature the Maryland flag front and center. The Maryland Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will start issuing the new plate on Monday, September 26 for all passenger cars, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, and multipurpose vehicles.

"You would be hard pressed to find another state that has more pride than our great state of Maryland," said Governor Hogan. "Earlier this year we launched our newly redesigned, state-of-the-art, Maryland-themed driver's licenses, using our beautiful flag for inspiration. Now, Marylanders will have yet another way to show their state pride, with our new 'Maryland Proud' standard-issue license plate."

The new plate meets all state standards and has passed all law-enforcement testing for readability. The new standard-issue plate will replace the War of 1812 plate, but customers who want to keep their existing plates do not need to get the new plate. Those who want to replace their existing license plates will pay the current $20 replacement cost. Registration renewal costs remain unchanged. All vehicles purchased on/after September 26 will be issued the new plate unless customers want to transfer their existing plates to their vehicles.

"We think these beautifully designed plates will be very popular and strongly encourage our customers to skip the trip to the MVA and order them online," said Secretary Rahn.

The War of 1812 plate was first issued in June 2010 and was scheduled to be in circulation during the Star Spangled commemoration. It is standard practice to update the Maryland license plate every few years. All Maryland license plates are manufactured by Maryland Correctional Enterprises, a division of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. MVA issues approximately 740,000 sets of license plates per year.

To order the new Maryland Proud plate after September 26, visit the MVA website at mva.maryland.gov and click Online Services.

-###-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 24, 2016

 

MDTA CREWS SHARPEN THEIR SNOW-FIGHTING SKILLS

IN SIXTH ANNUAL "TRUCK ROADEO"

Hook Up The Plows!

BALTIMORE, MD - Today, truck drivers and mechanics from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) will hone their respective skills at the sixth annual "Truck Roadeo" training exercise in Baltimore. The training prepares vehicle operators and mechanics for the hustle and bustle of winter before the first snowflakes fall.

"The Truck Roadeo helps MDTA ensure safe, effective and efficient winter operations and the highest service for our customers," said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee. "In the dog days of summer, the MDTA is thinking snow."

The training is designed to test the knowledge, skills and abilities of vehicle operators and help identify an individual's operating strengths and weaknesses and knowledge of applicable laws, salting procedures and equipment safety and maintenance.

The Truck Roadeo includes a series of obstacle courses for plow drivers that challenge skills for backing up, maneuvering in tight spaces and accurate plowing on outside and inside curves or near vehicles. If the operator should bump or knock down any barriers or cones, or exceed boundary lines in the obstacle course, penalty points are deducted from the total score. The top two winners will go to the national training event, the APWA Western Snow & Ice Conference and Roadeo, in Colorado next month.

This is the first year where MDTA's tow truck drivers, the Vehicle Recovery Technicians (VRTs), will compete. Challenges include vehicle hook-up/towing and tire changing, two skills that are important for removing stuck or disabled vehicles from the roads during snowstorms. In addition, mechanics will undergo a two-part challenge involving a written test and hands-on troubleshooting of a dump truck.

Sixteen plow drivers, 10 mechanics and six VRTs are competing in today's event, representing all of MDTA's toll facilities. The MDTA has approximately 350 personnel on hand during winter snowstorms, including office staff, mechanics and operators, with approximately 265 pieces of heavy equipment, including dump trucks, loaders and snow blowers.

To view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov. For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 23, 2016

 

BICYCLE ACCESS ON HATEM BRIDGE WEEKENDS ONLY STARTING SEPT. 6

Share the Bridge & Cross with Care

Bikes Allowed Weekends Dawn to Dusk

BALTIMORE, MD - Starting Tuesday, Sept. 6, bicyclists will be allowed to cross the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) from dawn to dusk Saturday, Sunday and state holidays only and during pre-arranged special events. The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) urges bicyclists and motorists to Share the Bridge and Cross with Care.

Prior to crossing the bridge, bicyclists push a button to activate flashing warning lights that alert drivers when a bicyclist is crossing the bridge. The lights will flash for 10 to 15 minutes, providing the bicyclist time to safely cross the bridge.

Bicyclists must ride in the direction of traffic and should position themselves in the center of the right lane. Motorists are encouraged to use the left lane when warning lights are flashing.

Trucks over five tons still must use the right lane but may use the left lane to safely pass bicycles. When the right lane on the bridge is closed for maintenance and construction, motorists and bicyclists will share the open left lane. Bicyclists traveling eastbound will pay the $8 two-axle toll in the far right toll lane (cash and E-ZPass accepted).

Bicycle Access Restrictions

  • Bicyclists must be 18 years of age or older OR have a valid driver's license.
  • Bicyclists are encouraged to ride single file and follow all rules of the road.
  • Bicyclists are not permitted to stop while crossing the bridge.
  • Pedestrians, skateboards, scooters and skates are not permitted.
  • When bicycle access is restricted in the event of fog, wind, other inclement weather or incident, notification will be made via variable message signs and on MDTA's Twitter account at twitter.com/TheMDTA.

The Hatem Bridge is the oldest of the MDTA's toll facilities. The 1.3-mile, four-lane bridge opened in August 1940. The posted speed limit on the Hatem Bridge is 45 mph. The MDTA began allowing bicycle access on the bridge July 1, 2016.

For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us at mdta.maryland.gov and on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 16, 2016

CALHOUN RETIRES FROM MARYLAND TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY BOARD


BALTIMORE, MD - After serving more than a decade as a Board Member of the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), Rev. Dr. William C. Calhoun, Sr., has retired. Rev. Dr. Calhoun served from 1999 - 2005 and most recently was appointed as a Board Member in May 2009.

During his tenure as MDTA Board Member, Rev. Dr. Calhoun helped the agency lead an aggressive plan to preserve the agency's aging toll facilities, enhance customer service and safety, provide financial accountability and ensure the progress of projects including the I-95 Express Toll Lanes and the Intercounty Connector/MD 200. He also served as Chairman of the Capital and Human Resources committees and as liaison to the Maryland Port Administration.

An active civic leader and pastor of the Trinity Baptist Church of Baltimore for more than 40 years, Rev. Dr. Calhoun also is a professor of urban ministry at Baltimore's Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University. His other pursuits include serving as a board member of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council and president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. He previously served on boards for the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, Maryland Food Committee, B.U.I.L.D. and the I-83 Interstate Division of Baltimore City Advisory Committee.

Rev. Dr. Calhoun's extensive work as a community activist and his ability to build partnerships were a tremendous benefit to the MDTA's staff and to the citizens of Maryland. The MDTA wishes Rev. Dr. Calhoun a healthy and happy retirement.

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) 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.

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Aug. 2, 2016
 
CONTACT: Kelly Melhem
 
410-537-1017
 

INNOVATIONS IN CUSTOMER SERVICE & TECHNOLOGY COMING TO STATE'S TOLL FACILITIES

Only Customer-First Partners Need Apply

 
BALTIMORE, MD - Reflecting the Hogan Administration's commitment to customer service, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is seeking firms to revolutionize customer services and tolling technology at its eight toll facilities across the State. Yesterday, the MDTA issued two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to develop and operate the third generation of its electronic toll-collection systems.
 
"We are seeking firms that will collaborate with us to put our customers first and deliver superior services to Marylanders," said MDTA Deputy Executive Director Deb Sharpless. "Reliability, collaboration and flexibility will drive this transformation and will allow us to meet the evolving needs of our customers, adapt to changing technologies and positively impact Maryland's economy."
 
The procurement that started this week will result in completely new tolling systems and customer-service operations for E-ZPass Maryland customers. The new contracts will be performance driven with clear standards and expectations and will deliver choices to customers as their needs change over time.
 
As part of this multi-year process, the MDTA solicited feedback from industry firms in April to develop the strongest RFPs possible before putting them out for proposals. The MDTA anticipates the new systems will be live within two years of awarding the new contracts.
 
Interested firms should register on eMarylandMarketplace at https://emaryland.buyspeed.com/bso/ in order to access the procurement packages.
 
Learn more about the MDTA at mdta.maryland.gov and about E-ZPass Maryland at ezpassmd.com. Find us at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.