WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, Andy P. Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown and Jamie B. Raskin, met Thursday at the U.S. Capitol with CSX CEO Jim Foote to discuss a path forward on replacing the Howard Street Tunnel, which has widely been described as “ancient.” The meeting comes almost exactly one year after Foote met with the Maryland delegation to review why the project had been abandoned by the former CEO. During today’s meeting, Foote laid out the research done by CSX personnel over the last year and committed to re-engage in the project – with $91 million toward the overall cost.
“We are pleased that CSX has reversed its position on the Howard Street Tunnel project and is once again supportive and willing to participate,” said Senator Cardin. “Replacement of the Howard Street Tunnel is in the economic interest of Baltimore and the region, as well as safety for the immediate area. It’s now incumbent on all stakeholders – federal, state, local and others in the private-sector who would benefit from this project – to come together to update the finance plan for getting this done in the most efficient and safe manner possible.”
“The Howard Street Tunnel is central to the success of the Port of Baltimore and the region’s economy. We were deeply concerned when CSX appeared to be walking away from the deal to expand the tunnel, and we’re pleased to hear they’re back at the negotiating table and are committing $91 million to the project. We will remain in close contact with all of the partners in this critical project to ensure we are able to move goods and freight across the state to support our workers and our economy,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“I am grateful to the CSX leadership for recognizing how vital it is that we create a new Howard Street Tunnel once and for all,” said Mayor Pugh. “We can no longer neglect essential infrastructure improvements in our City and we welcome this partnership with CSX to get the job done with regard to the Tunnel. This will not only remedy a serious safety hazard, but it’s an investment in our City’s longer-term competitive interests.”
“Last year, my colleagues and I asked CSX to re-examine the value of the Howard Street Tunnel project on which our state and delegation have worked for so long. I am pleased that CSX kept its word and has now concluded that there is significant value in this project and the company is again willing to participate financially,” Congressman Cummings said. “I look forward to working with the delegation and all stakeholders to see how we can advance this project, rebuild the Howard Street Tunnel, and support the continued growth of our economy.”
“My spirit is up after meeting with CSX’s CEO today. They are willing to contribute $91 million to raising the clearance of the Howard Street Tunnel,” said Congressman Ruppersberger. “This will allow us to double stack containers, reducing the cost of doing business at the Port of Baltimore while generating 34,000 jobs and $2.9 billion for the region. I hope the coalition of stakeholders can come together to bring this worthy project to fruition.”