Press Release

July 9, 2024
Cardin, Van Hollen, Sarbanes, Mfume Announce $960,000 to Connect Howard County to Baltimore Area Transit Services

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and U.S. Congressmen John Sarbanes and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) announced $960,000 in federal funding to better connect Howard County commuters to Baltimore-area transit services. The grant will allow the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Howard County to purchase two, heavy-duty transit buses to extend the existing Route 409 by five miles from its current terminus in Elkridge to Lansdowne Station in Baltimore County. This extension will provide commuters with additional local transit options and complete an essential connection to regional transit services in Baltimore City.

The funds are provided through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Buses & Bus Facilities Grant Program, which the lawmakers fought to significantly boost funding for within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Today’s announcement comes after the lawmakers wrote to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in May to support Howard County’s funding application.

“Mobility and connectivity across our public transportation system drive economic growth and expand equity. Connecting Howard County with the greater Baltimore region with new, modern buses is a win-win for the region and for our collective effort to address the on-going climate crisis,” said Senator Cardin. “This is another example of Team Maryland’s commitment to bringing more federal investment to strengthen our state and local communities.”

“Regional public transportation not only helps connect communities across the state, it also opens more doors of opportunity for Marylanders. With this federal investment, we are laying the groundwork for more accessible, efficient public transit from Howard County to Baltimore and greater economic mobility throughout the region. These types of investments are exactly why we fought to pass the infrastructure modernization law, so across our state and our country we can bring our transportation systems into the 21st century, improve Americans’ commutes, and boost our economy,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The addition of two new buses in Howard County to extend Route 409 will provide those who live and work here with more reliable commuting options and increase access to locations and transit services in and around the City of Baltimore. Bolstering public transportation in our region helps to not only advance social equity but also enable more economic opportunity for all,” said Congressman Sarbanes. 

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is transformative legislation that continues to modernize Maryland’s infrastructure and is the largest federal investment in public transit in American history. This compelling announcement not only makes it easier for Baltimoreans to commute to other parts of our great state, but also does so in a manner that is environmentally friendly and is in line with our collective duty to combat the climate crisis,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume.

“In Howard County, we are expanding public transportation options for residents, employees, and visitors across our vibrant community. This federal grant award will support the purchase of two new buses to extend RTA transit service further along Route One into Elkridge and Lansdowne, creating a new connection with our neighbors in Baltimore County,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Thank you to President Biden, Senators Cardin and Van Hollen, and Representative Sarbanes for continuing to deliver results for the residents of Howard County. Together, we are building a green, reliable, and accessible transportation system for all.”

The lawmakers worked to reauthorize the Buses & Bus Facilities Competitive Grant Program at $2 billion over five years under the IIJA. For fiscal year 2024, the program was funded at $390 million from the infrastructure law.

The IIJA is a once-in-a-generation investment in American infrastructure that will provide more than $7 billion in federal funding directly to Maryland over five years to strengthen our infrastructure, from transit systems to roads and bridges to water infrastructure, broadband connectivity, and more. The lawmakers worked to secure passage of this law in Congress, which is helping spur job creation, enhance U.S. competitiveness, and make our transportation systems more sustainable and equitable.