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For Immediate Release                                                     Contact: Rocky Moretti 202.262.0714 (cell)
Tuesday, May 17, 2016                                                                     Carolyn Bonifas Kelly 703.801.9212 (cell)
Report available at: tripnet.org                                                       TRIP office 202.466.6706

NEW REPORT EXAMINES PROGRESS AND CHALLENGES IN IMPROVING MARYLAND’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, IDENTIFIES STATE'S LARGEST BOTTLENECKS, EVALUATES CURRENT ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS AND SAFETY, AND NOTES RECENT MOBILITY IMPROVEMENTS

 

Annapolis, MD – A new report released today by TRIP assesses recent improvements undertaken to enhance mobility in Maryland, identifies the state’s top 30 traffic bottlenecks, and evaluates road and bridge conditions and highway safety. While a 2013 state transportation funding boost and the 2015 approval of a long-term federal surface transportation program have resulted in a significant increase in state transportation investment, Maryland still faces a significant challenge in improving mobility, conditions and safety, and supporting long-term economic growth. TRIP is a Washington, DC-based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Keeping Maryland Mobile: Progress and Challenges in Providing an Efficient, Safe and Well-Maintained Transportation System,” finds that throughout Maryland, state-maintained road conditions have improved since 2012 and the number of structurally deficient state-maintained bridges has decreased during that time. While traffic congestion continues to increase, the state has made progress in completing needed projects to improve the efficiency of its transportation system.

Largely due to increased revenue as a result of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013, the average annual highway investment in Maryland by the State Highway Administration increased by 85 percent from an average of $810 million annually from 2010 to 2012 to an average of $1.5 billion annually from 2016 to 2018.  As a result, the share of state-maintained roads and highways in Maryland in poor or mediocre condition decreased from 30 percent in 2012 (13 percent rated poor and 17 percent rated in mediocre condition) to 24 percent in 2014 (10 percent rated poor and 14 percent rated in mediocre condition). Similarly, the number of state-maintained bridges in Maryland rated structurally deficient was reduced from 97 in 2012 to 69 in 2015. 

Maryland has completed a number of congestion relief projects since 2013, including construction of the final section of the Intercounty Connector (ICC), construction of two toll-lanes on eight miles of I-95 from I-895 to MD 43, widening I-70 to six lanes at South Street/Monocacy Boulevard, widening several sections of US 40, and widening and reconstruction of I-695/Wilkens Avenue.  Additional mobility improvements completed in Maryland since 2013 include expanded service patrols on major highways, enhanced driver information, improved traffic signal timing, and construction of 11 miles of new sidewalks and 13 miles of marked bicycle lanes.

“From Governor Hogan’s $2 billion investment in highways and bridges to innovative projects and practical design, Maryland is committed to improving safety and reducing hours lost every day to congestion,” said Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete K. Rahn.

Despite efforts to improve the efficiency of Maryland’s transportation system, congestion on Maryland’s roads results in 195 million hours of delays annually and the consumption of 85 million additional gallons of fuel, resulting in an annual cost of $4.1 billion in lost time and wasted fuel. Two of the nation’s 25 most congested urban areas are located in or include parts of Maryland. The Washington, DC metro area, which includes suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, is ranked first nationally in the cost of traffic congestion per commuter, with congestion costing $1,834 per commuter and causing 82 hours of delay annually. The Baltimore urban area ranked 25th in the cost of traffic congestion per commuter at $1,115, with the average Baltimore motorist losing 47 hours annually.

The TRIP report identifies Maryland’s top 30 bottleneck locations, with the top ten bottlenecks detailed below. A full list of the top 30 bottlenecks throughout the state can be found in the report.

Nearly a quarter of Maryland’s locally and state-maintained bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Six percent of Maryland’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Seventeen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are functionally obsolete, meaning they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“Despite overwhelming support for choices in meeting our transportation needs, some groups would deny us this choice by aggressively opposing even the most reasonable roadway projects as part of a multi-modal transportation system,” said Tom Calcagni, director of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “That is why the success stories we have heard today, as well the successes of the Wilson Bridge, Mixing Bowl, ICC and other impactful projects, are so important.  They show that investments in roadways and bridges can and do make a difference.”

Traffic crashes in Maryland claimed the lives of 2,404 people between 2010 and 2014. Maryland’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.78 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.08. Maryland’s non-Interstate rural roads have a traffic fatality rate of 1.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, approximately three times higher than the fatality rate of 0.61 on all other roads.

The efficiency and condition of Maryland’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $445 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Maryland with 75 percent of the freight tonnage being shipped by trucks.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Maryland. Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST Act), provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending, allows states greater long-term funding certainty and streamlines the federal project approval process. But the FAST Act does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.

“While Maryland has been able to use increased state transportation funds to improve road and bridge conditions in recent years, congestion continues to mount and a significant amount of additional local, state and federal funding is still needed,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without additional transportation funding, Maryland’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, the state will miss out on opportunities for economic growth, and quality of life will suffer.”