Category Archives: Maryland

Maryland transit agency to partially close Baltimore subway for rail updates

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) this summer will shut down a portion of Baltimore Metro Subway service for replacement of major rail components.

From July 23 to August 12, the agency will close the system from the Milford Mill Station in Lochearn, Md., to the Mondawmin Station in Baltimore to replace three interlockings.

The MTA also will perform additional rail replacement, track maintenance, station improvements and cleaning.

“This necessary and critical rail work will further enhance service safety and reliability, and allow trains to move faster through this corridor of the Metro track,” said MTA Deputy Administrator Suhair Al Khatib.

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Maryland chooses team to build, maintain Purple Line light-rail route

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan yesterday announced that Purple Line Transit Partners has been chosen to build the 16.2-mile, $2 billion Purple Line light-rail project.

The team — which comprises Fluor Enterprises Inc., Meridiam Infrastructure Purple Line LLC and Star America Purple Line LLC — will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the line under a public-private contract.

The line will have 21 stations and will run from New Carrollton to Bethesda, Md.

With an expected $1.36 billion in fare revenue, along with local and federal contributions to the project, the final cost for the state will be $3.3 billion over 36 years, according to a press release issued by Hogan’s office.

The state’s upfront expenditure for Purple Line construction will be $159.8 million, down $8 million from previously announced estimates. Additionally, Maryland’s annual availability payments have decreased to $149 million from $167 million. These payments cover financing, operations, maintenance and future required capital repairs and replacements for the line, Hogan’s release said.

Following approval by Maryland’s Board of Public Works in April, the contract would proceed to the financial close in early June. That would enable the state to work with the Federal Transit Administration to finalize a full funding grant agreement in July, Hogan’s release said.

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), which will oversee construction, will give Purple Line Transit Partners full notice to proceed on the project at the financial close, with construction starting in late 2016.

The line is expected to open for service in spring 2022.

FRA gives green light for rebuild of Baltimore/Washington airport’s rail station

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today signaled its approval for a proposed new rail station at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), after the agency issued a “finding of no significant impact” in its environmental assessment of the project.

The finding allows Maryland to secure funds for the station’s final design and construction. The project includes adding a fourth track to 9 miles of the Northeast Corridor surrounding BWI and reconfiguring platforms to allow boarding from all four tracks, according to an FRA press release.

Amtrak and Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) trains provide passenger-rail service at the station, where ridership by daily commuters and airline passengers has been increasing. Amtrak considers the station its 13th busiest in the nation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation projects a population growth of 70 million more Americans over the next 30 years. The Northeast megaregion, which includes Baltimore, is projected to add 18.4 million people over that time period.

“The current rail station and infrastructure at BWI was built more than 30 years ago and does not support today’s needs or the region’s expected growth,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The completion of the environmental review for this project brings BWI one step closer to a safer rail station, reduced rail congestion, and increased reliability.”

Currently, only three tracks exist between the Grove Interlocking to the south near Odenton, Md., and the Winans Interlocking to the north near Halethorpe, Md. Adding a fourth track would increase rail capacity and reliability, FRA officials said.

“A new BWI rail station will allow both airline and rail passengers to get to their destinations safely, reliably and efficiently,” said FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg. “Today’s announcement is a significant step toward achieving that goal.”

In fiscal-year 2010, the FRA awarded a  $9.4 million High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to the Maryland Department of Transportation to pay for the environmental analysis and conduct preliminary engineering work.

Funding for final design and construction has not yet been identified.