Governor O'Malley Applauds President Obama for High Speed Rail Investment in Maryland

State receives nearly $70 million in federal recovery funds for key tunnel and rail station projects


ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 28, 2010) –Governor Martin O’Malley applauded today’s announcement by President Barack Obama that Maryland will receive nearly $70 million in federal recovery funds for key projects aimed at improving high speed rail connections in Maryland and the Baltimore region.  The funding comes from President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  It will be used to complete engineering work and environmental studies for both the replacement of the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel in Baltimore and the replacement of the station building and track upgrades at the BWI MARC/Amtrak Station near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in Anne Arundel County.  

“President Obama continues to lead our country toward economic recovery by investing in the important infrastructure needs of Maryland and the rest of our nation,” said Governor O’Malley.  “The replacement of the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel in Baltimore and the upgrade of the BWI MARC/Amtrak Station are critical components of our MARC Growth and Investment Plan.  Both will increase our ability to move people more efficiently by rail and reduce our dependence on the automobile.  This funding allows us to complete the engineering and environmental work necessary to get these vital projects ready for construction.  We also appreciate the efforts of Congressman Cummings and the Maryland Congressional Delegation in laying the groundwork for this funding by securing authorization for the $60 million in the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act.”

Governor O’Malley was informed of the new rail funding for Maryland during a phone call yesterday with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.  Details of the two rail projects are as follows.

Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel Replacement - $60 million: The funding will provide for engineering work and the environmental studies necessary to advance replacement of the 1870s-era passenger rail tunnel located west of Baltimore’s Penn Station.  It will improve safety and capacity on the Penn Line, the main rail line linking Washington, D.C., and Baltimore with New York City and Boston.  The Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel is used by Amtrak, MARC and Norfolk Southern.  Total cost of constructing the replacement tunnel approaches $1 billion.

BWI Station/Platform/Track Redevelopment - $9.4 million: The funding will provide for engineering work and the environmental studies necessary to advance construction of a new rail station building, as well as platforms and pedestrian-access improvements to allow boarding on up to four tracks at the BWI Marshall Rail Station, versus the existing ability to board on only on two tracks.  Funding also will advance a fourth track at the station in addition to the three that exist currently, and other adjacent track improvements intended to help move trains in and out of the station more efficiently and to enhance the reliability of Maryland’s intercity rail service.  The construction of improvements to the BWI MARC/Amtrak station is projected to be $80 million to $100 million.

The funded engineering and environmental study work for these projects will be completed within three years.  The projects then will be ready for construction, once funding is identified.  Both projects would be eligible for future federal funding for construction. 

Governor O’Malley’s MARC Growth and Investment Plan was developed shortly after he took office in 2007.  It is a multi-phased, multi-year plan to triple the capacity of the MARC system through a series of track, facility and equipment improvements.  The plan establishes a series of milestones for 2010, 2015, 2020 and 2035.  The challenge of the economic downturn has reduced funding available in the short-term for implementation of the plan.  This ARRA funding, which does not require any matching funds from the state, is critical to Maryland’s ability to advance the plan.  The entire MARC Growth and Investment Plan can be accessed on the Maryland Transit Administration’s website.

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