The Maryland Department of Transportation has received two Biden Administration grants totaling $20.4 million to advance transit rail connections in the Baltimore region and promote cleaner operations at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore.

Both grants were awarded through the Federal Railroad Administration’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program.

The first grant, totaling $8.8 million, is for the Maryland Transit Administration to advance planning and engineering for the Penn Camden Connector, a project to link the two MARC train lines serving Baltimore. The project will relieve capacity constraints, reduce emissions, complement Penn Station redevelopment and provide direct access from the Penn Line to MARC’s Riverside Maintenance Facility.

Long term, the connector will allow the agency to explore potential future Penn Line service connections from Washington, D.C., and points south into Downtown Baltimore.

The MTA will match the federal grant with $2.2 million for a total commitment of $11 million to fund preliminary engineering and the environmental work required for the federal National Environmental Policy Act review process. The grant funding will advance the project to 30% design, which is expected to take about two years.

The second grant of $11.6 million is for the CSX Curtis Bay facilities at the Port of Baltimore. It will facilitate the replacement of three older, higher emission locomotives at CSX’s privately-owned rail terminal with new battery electric locomotives and a battery charging station. The units, which will be the first zero-exhaust emissions locomotives at an East Coast port, will help reduce emissions and noise for the Port and surrounding communities.

The new units are expected to annually reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,530 metric tons, nitrogen oxides by 71 metric tons and particulate matter by 3.43 metric tons compared to the older locomotives. Locomotive noise will be reduced by 70%. CSX will own and operate the battery electric locomotives and the company will provide a 50% match toward the overall project cost of $23.2 million.

The MARC and Port of Baltimore projects are among more than 70 rail improvement projects in 35 states and Washington, D.C., receiving grants through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The allocation of more than $1.4 billion is the largest ever awarded for rail safety and rail supply chain upgrades through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program.