While the Governor has previously indicated his support for the restoration of local transportation funding, Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn further emphasized it by stating very clearly, “The Governor supports and advocates returning Highway User Revenues(HUR) to local governments.” Secretary Rahn, or Pete as he prefers to be called, spoke before MACo’s Legislative Committee on September 30.
Secretary Rahn shared that an eight-year phase-in at 2.5% a year has been built into the state’s Capital Transportation Program (CTP) to bring local governments back to the historical 70% state/30% local government share of HUR. He indicated that a phase-in at a faster rate would require projects currently included in the CTP to be removed, altered or deferred.
Secretary Rahn also discussed transit in Baltimore, another span for the Bay Bridge, and construction of a new Nice Bridge. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), a mode within MDOT, are working on the transit plan for Baltimore. He commented that it would be presented to the public soon.
To address congestion crossing the Bay Bridge, he commented that multiple options are currently being studied: 1) continue both bridges as they are; 2) add a single lane onto one of the bridges; 3) build an adjacent 3 lane bridge; and 4) take one bridge down and build a 5 lane bridge in its place. It’s too early to know which direction the study will go, but Secretary Rahn did make it clear that reduced toll levels are adequate to maintain the bridge. With respect to the Nice Bridge, he said that funds are available to bring the bridge up to the point of procurement, the same funding level that was included in the CTP prior to the toll reductions. Funds were not included in the CTP for construction.
In closing, he mentioned MDOT’s legislative package, without giving details, and said he would be asking for MACo’s support.