WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) today joined Governor Wes Moore and Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld to announce $80,000,000 in U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) funding for the Maryland Transportation Authority to make critical transportation safety, mobility and environmental improvements around the toll plaza and Frankfurst Avenue Interchange of the I-895 Baltimore Harbor Tunnel.
“Improving the I-895 Baltimore Harbor Tunnel infrastructure will contribute to safer, more efficient travel in the Baltimore region,” said Senator Cardin. “This project, made possible through a true State and federal partnership, supports economic and environmental goals, and it shows how President Biden’s historic infrastructure law is delivering results and moving Maryland forward.”
“The Baltimore Harbor Tunnel plays a critical role in connecting the Baltimore area to the greater mid-Atlantic region, with more than 25 million vehicles passing through it each year. This $80 million federal investment will help ensure this stretch of I-895 can better handle traffic and provide a smoother and safer ride for all who use it. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues to have a positive impact on Baltimore and on our goal of building a stronger, more prosperous Maryland,” said Senator Van Hollen.
The federal funding, made available by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, comes through the National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program (Mega) under USDOT’s Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant. The funding will help upgrade a critical junction in the Baltimore area’s Interstate system and provide greater freight connectivity to the Port of Baltimore, improve safety for personal and freight vehicles utilizing the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and reduce vehicle idling and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, it will modernize 1.1 miles of assets, including the replacement of the toll plaza near the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel with an overhead gantry for electronic toll collection, the enhancement of rail safety measures at the Shell Road at-grade CSX crossing, and the redesign of the Frankfurst Avenue bridge to safely accommodate freight vehicles.
“This $80 million award from the USDOT Mega Grant Program is an outstanding example of how partnerships between our state, our Congressional delegation and the Biden Administration can lead to investment that benefits Maryland’s economy and Maryland communities,” said Governor Wes Moore. “The improvements we’re making at the I-895 Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and in surrounding communities will enhance traffic flow, provide greater access to the Port of Baltimore and enhance the quality of life for those who live and work in this area.”
“We greatly appreciate the support of our Congressional partners and the Biden Administration for these improvements at the I-895 Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, which will enhance safety and ease congestion in this critical corridor,” said Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “This USDOT grant, combined with a 50% match from the state, enables the Maryland Transportation Authority to install a gantry system for highway-speed electronic toll collection and make other improvements that benefit traffic flow in surrounding communities. As a result, this project will eliminate a key bottleneck, reduce pollution from idling vehicles and provide better freight access to Maryland’s rail and port facilities.”
The National Infrastructure Project Assistance program, nicknamed the Megaprojects or “Mega” grant program, was established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and is especially intended to provide a federal funding source for large, complex projects that are difficult to advance through other sources of funding and that support national or regional economic development, mobility or safety goals.
In addition to voting for and strongly supporting the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act, the lawmakers sent a letter in support of the project to Secretary Buttigieg earlier this year.