WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski joined Congressmen Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes (all D-MD) today in announcing two grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation for important transit and infrastructure projects in Baltimore. A $1,560,025 grant will fund Baltimore’s Charm City Circulator’s new route to the Fort McHenry Monument and National Shrine in time for the bicentennial celebrations of the War of 1812. A second $1,669,632 grant will reconnect portions of West Baltimore divided by the former I-170, now known as the “Highway to Nowhere.”
“I was proud to support these worthwhile projects because they will significantly improve life for commuters, cyclists and pedestrians alike in Baltimore,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and noted advocate for public transportation projects and greenways. “As Baltimore prepares for the War of 1812 Bicentennial, the new Charm City Circulator route to Fort McHenry will ease congestion, making it easier for visitors to take part in the bicentennial celebrations. The project to connect western parts of the city will make Baltimore safer and greener by funding new bicycle lanes, pedestrian improvements and incorporating stormwater management practices.”
“I fight every year to make sure that Maryland’s transportation needs are a priority in the federal checkbook,” Senator Mikulski said. “This funding will help repair the neighborhoods of West Baltimore. It will give Marylanders and visitors alike the chance to see one of our national treasures, Ft. McHenry. And, it will provide a safe way for people to get to work. I am proud to support federal funding that keeps Maryland on the move.”
“Rebuilding America’s economy and getting our people back to work must be our top priorities,” said Congressman Cummings. “Besides creating important construction jobs, reconfiguring the Fulton Avenue bridge will help reconnect communities separated by this highway and will improve pedestrian access. The Charm City Connector’s new route will build on the success of this system and will help shrink congestion on our busy roads while improving access to one of the City’s key tourist destinations. I applaud the DOT for their foresight in issuing these grants and I call on Baltimore City and County officials to ensure that they are used efficiently and effectively to improve our infrastructure as soon as possible.”
“Fort McHenry is a local historic treasure, and these additional resources are part of our preparation for the upcoming War of 1812 Bicentennial celebration. The Star Spangled Circulator route will allow ease of access to visitors for many years to come, while alleviating parking and traffic concerns for the surrounding neighborhood,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “The West Baltimore project will increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists while also establishing storm water practices that will protect our environment.”
The grant for West Baltimore will reconfiguring the five lane Fulton Avenue bridge over the I-170 highway as part of the West Baltimore bicycle/pedestrian network. The bridge reconfiguration project also includes landscaping, pedestrian improvements, and innovative stormwater management practices. Additionally, a network of bicycle lanes, traffic and pedestrian safety initiatives between Harlem Park and the University of Maryland Biopark will be constructed. This project is already underway but had been placed on-hold for lack of funding before the grant was awarded.
The grant for the Charm City Circulator will create a new “Star Spangled Route” to Fort McHenry Monument and National Shrine in time for the bicentennial celebrations of the War of 1812. The route will connect downtown Baltimore to Fort McHenry on a year-round basis. The grant will be used over a three-year period and provide for 65 percent of the operating cost of the new route, with the balance of funding coming from local and private sources.