A $70 billion long-range plan outlining 50 major capital projects is currently under development to help the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board and local jurisdictions plan for future transportation needs.
The draft Resilience 2050 plan contains a list of transit, bicycle, pedestrian, roadway, and interchange projects that the region expects to implement through the year 2050, as well as planned investments for operating and preserving the region’s transportation system.
The plan’s $70 billion cost represents the amount of state and federal revenue that selected projects are expected to receive through 2050. It includes $37 billion for operating costs, $21 billion for system preservation, and $12 billion for expansion.
At a June information session, Zach Kaufman, a Baltimore Metropolitan Council transportation planner, said Resilience 2050 targets nine goals: accessibility, mobility, system safety, improvements and maintenance, environmental responsibility, system security, promoting prosperity and economic opportunity, fostering participation and cooperation among stakeholders, and informed decision making.
“Local members worked together to forecast population, households and employment through 2050 to help inform the project selection process and analyze the potential future projects in the plan,” Kaufman said.
Accordingly, the Baltimore region’s population is expected to increase by 360,000 or 13% by 2050, with a 15% increase in households and 374,000 additional jobs.
Ken Kucharek, a senior transportation planner at BMC, provided an overview of the BRTB’s Short-Range Transportation Improvement Program, which includes all federally funded and regionally significant projects over the next four years.
The 143 projects in the draft 2024-2027 TIP programs total $4.24 billion in federal, state and local funding.
Highlights in the local region include the widening of MD 170 in Anne Arundel County from Norcross Lane to Wieker Road, and a 1.5 mile segment of the overall 40-mile Patapsco Regional Greenway connecting Elkridge in Howard County to the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore County. That improvement will provide a 10- to 12-foot hard surface trail and a 290-foot-long boardwalk over sensitive wetland areas.
In the Regional Transit Plan Corridors study, Kaufman said the East-West Transit Corridor (which may include Ellicott City) is the only RTP corridor far enough along to have a projected cost, $50 million, which is based on an average per-mile cost of the project’s seven alternatives.
“That was deemed the best way forward,” he said, and a more accurate cost will be incorporated in the next Long-Range Transportation Plan update in four years should a preferred alternative be selected for either the East-West or North-South Transit Corridors. But it was not immediately clear what would become of those plans after Gov. Wes Moore in mid-June announced an effort to revive the Baltimore Red Line, a transit project in the corridor that was canceled in 2015.
For more information on Resilience 2050 and an interactive map of short- and long-range projects, navigate to the Plans section under the Transportation heading on the BMC’s website, baltometro.org.
In May, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball provided an update on some of the county’s own transportation priorities, including $13.2 million in fiscal 2024 capital budget funding for Complete Streets infrastructure.
“This includes $1.3 million for the Rogers Avenue Complete Streets project and $1.1 million for Guilford Road improvements,” Ball said. Those improvements include bike and pedestrian connections.
That’s good news to people like Rev. Tyrone Jones, a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Guildord and a People Acting Together in Howard County steering committee member.
“Many members of our congregation fear even walking to church,” he said. “I had challenges and difficulties walking my elementary school aged daughter across the street [to reach] Guilford Elementary School. She literally had to take the bus to go maybe half a mile to school. Oakland Mills and Guilford Road is now a safer place.”
Ball’s capital budget included approximately $1 million for the new South Entrance Trail which will provide a link between Downtown Columbia and the existing Patuxent Branch Trail.
“With that network complete, there will be a direct bicycle and pedestrian connection all the way from North Laurel to Downtown Columbia and beyond,” Ball said.
Two new projects are also addressed in the budget: a two-mile-long multiuse pathway for walking and cycling that runs the entire length of Dobbin Road, and the US 1 Corridor Safe Streets for All project, which will bring streetscape, pedestrian, bicycle, and transportation safety improvements along the Route 1 Corridor from Elkridge to Laurel.
“I’m committing $150,000 to expand transit service in the Elkridge area,” Ball said, and the county is also partnering with Montgomery County to bring its Flash Bus Rapid Transit Service to Howard County and provide a new transit connection between the jurisdictions.
“The expansion was awarded more than $3 million from the federal government for the purchase of Flash buses, and Howard County has committed more than $850,000 in matching funds to support this partnership,” he said.