BALTIMORE — After a long wait, Maryland will receive $125 million in federal funding to go towards expansion of the Howard Street Tunnel.
The project is in partnership with CSX and is part of a long time effort to give trains traveling through the tunnel the capability to double stack shipping containers delivered to and from the Port of Baltimore.
Currently the tunnel's clearance restrictions allow for only single stacked containers, which is less cost effective and requires more truck deliveries, which at times can increase traffic along the I-95 corridor, and increase emissions.
“For years, our administration has pursued funding for this critical project, and after a number of roadblocks, we are finally able to move forward on reconstruction,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “This grant will help us to break a coast-wide bottleneck, further bolstering our economic success at the Port of Baltimore and across the state. I want to thank the U.S. Department of Transportation, CSX, and our partners at the Port for making this initiative a reality.”
The approved federal funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant Program (INFRA) still falls around $100 million short of what the State had been requesting.
Back in December 2018, CSX officials committed to spend $91 million, with the state pledging $147 million. Both were asking the federal government to pay the remaining $228 million to complete the project.
Maryland's delegation of United States Senators and Congressmen released a joint statement praising the grant, and its potential for job creation:
“A year ago, this project was on the brink of collapsing. But working with our state, local, and private partners, we refused to give up – because we knew that an expanded tunnel that allowed for double-stack rail meant a more successful Port of Baltimore and state of Maryland. We’re pleased to announce today that we have secured a federal commitment of $125 million for the project, and we can finally move forward. This funding will not only improve the Tunnel and the Port, but it will also help create over 7,000 jobs in Maryland,” the Members said.
Governor Hogan later this week is set to become chairman of the National Governor's Association, and is expected to lead a nationwide infrastructure initiative focusing on the ability of states to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and transit systems.