LA PLATA, Md. – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Steny Hoyer (all D-Md.) have announced a federal investment of $5 million they worked to secure for the development of the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit (SMRT), a new rapid transit system that will operate between Charles and Prince George’s counties. The lawmakers worked to pass this investment in the fiscal year 2022 federal funding law enacted in March.
This $5 million federal investment – which Senator Cardin and Congressman Hoyer spotlighted yesterday at the Charles County Government Building – will be used for the planning, design, engineering, and environmental review process for the development of a 19-mile, fixed-route, high-capacity transit service from the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station in Camp Springs to Waldorf/White Plains. The transit corridor will serve major regional employment centers – including Joint Base Andrews and MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center – help alleviate traffic between Washington D.C. and Charles County, and serve as a catalyst for economic and job growth.
“Team Maryland is united in our ongoing effort to bring new federal resources back to Maryland. For the first time in a decade, we were able to make specific request for locally requested projects. The $5 million earmark we got funded for FY22, along with $5 million from the Maryland legislature, gets us where we need to be for the Charles-Prince George’s County Southern Maryland Rapid Transit System,” said Senator Cardin. “This money has been long awaited. During the last 25 years, this region’s population has doubled and traffic increased exponentially. Simply put, we need more public transit. Our workers need to be able to get to work. Local businesses need to spend more time with clients than their vehicles. We waste too much time in congestion and we send too much pollution into the air. These new federal investments help get people out of their automobiles and are a real step in the right direction.”
“Investing in reliable public transit helps create jobs, alleviate traffic, improve road safety, reduce pollution, and more. That’s why we fought to secure these federal dollars to build out the new Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project. With this new transit system, more folks will be able to get where they’re going with less hassle. I’ll keep working to invest in infrastructure improvements in our communities,” said Senator Van Hollen, who included these funds in his Fiscal Year 2022 Congressionally Directed Spending priorities.
“I was glad to stand with my colleagues today to highlight the $5 million in funding Team Maryland secured in the FY 2022 Omnibus package to develop the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit system and bridge communities between Charles County and Prince George’s County,” said Congressman Hoyer. “This funding comes at a critical time for our state, and along with the investments secured from enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these federal dollars will help upgrade and modernize our public transit. With this round of investment, we can build on these important initiatives which will not only make commutes more convenient for riders, but also strengthen access to our local economy and help more families and businesses make it in Maryland.”
“Many thanks to U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressman Steny Hoyer (all D-Md.) for the federal investment in SMRT. Now, in accordance with State Law, the Maryland Department of Transportation must promptly undertake all steps necessary to complete the design, engineering and secure a record of decision for the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit Project,” said State Senator Arthur Ellis (D-SD-28).
“I am proud to stand with the awesome team of federal, state and local leaders in the region to ensure that Southern Maryland is poised to move into the 21st century with economic parity, transportation equity and environmental health. While this directly impacts residents of Charles County, the economic and environmental impact benefits all Marylanders,” said Delegate Debra Davis (D-SD-28).
“We sincerely appreciate the support of Senators Van Hollen and Cardin in securing a Congressionally Designated Spending Appropriation for the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project. I also thank the Southern Maryland Delegation and all advocates for their belief in the project,” said Charles County Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “This project is Charles County’s highest transportation priority and the most critical component of our future mobility in the Branch Avenue corridor. In the big picture, this phase of the project is a small investment in the view of the federal and state budgets, but it will reap immeasurable benefits for the mobility of our residents as well as business development in the Maryland economy.”
“Today with the support of Senator Van Hollen, Senator Cardin, Congressman Hoyer, and all our State and County elected leaders, the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project has achieved an historic breakthrough. With the $5 million Congressional appropriation, combined with the first installment of $5 million in State funds mandated by the Maryland legislature, we can begin the final phase of project planning, design, engineering and required environmental work. When that’s done, we move on to the construction of one of the most consequential and transformative projects in Southern Maryland’s history—a fast, safe and accessible rapid transit system that will cut through the traffic gridlock and improve mobility in the MD5-US301 corridor from Waldorf to Washington, and be a catalyst for new economic growth and job opportunities, improving the quality of life of all our citizens,” said Gary V. Hodge, President, Regional Policy Advisors, and leading SMRT project advocate.