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Further Efforts to Reshape Transportation Infrastructure in the County

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today called on the state of Maryland to provide severely needed funding to Baltimore County’s historically underinvested transportation infrastructure during the Maryland Department of Transportation’s annual Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) Meeting in Baltimore County.

“A robust transportation system is critical to Baltimore County’s future. My administration has taken unprecedented efforts to develop a new vision for the future of transportation and we need the state to be a strong partner by making long-overdue investments to support our growing population,” said Olszewski. “My administration will continue to innovate— and advocate—for our residents so that we can create safer, more vibrant, and more inclusive communities across Baltimore County.”

Every year, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) holds meetings in every jurisdiction across the state to discuss updates to the CTP, Maryland’s six-year capital budget for transportation projects.

In his April 2020, request to the Maryland Department of Transportation, Olszewski requested items to address traffic concerns in areas around the County and accommodate past and future planned growth, including:

  • A long-needed interchange at Interstate 795 and Dolfield Boulevard—a request the County has made since 2007

  • A full interchange at 1-695 and Broening Highway to maximize redevelopment activities at Trade Point Atlantic

  • Support for the growth of Baltimore County Locally Operated Transit system, including the Towson Circulator

  • State support for Capital funds for bicycle and pedestrian project initiatives for Northeast Trail (Perry Hall) and Osler Drive (Towson) as well as a Safe Routes to School grant in the Sparrows Point area

  • A needed traffic congestion study along the Liberty Road Corridor

  • A commitment from the state to complete their portion of Kenwood Avenue to enhance pedestrian safety for Overlea High School

According to the 2020 MDOT financial plan, Baltimore County received $0 in capital funding, and only $416,000 in operational funding for its Locally Operated Transit System—a reduction from 2019 funds despite the County’s requests for additional funding.

During Baltimore County’s 2020 virtual meeting today, Olszewski reiterated the need for state support in line with what other counties receive in order to invest in the infrastructure to begin expanding the County's transit system.

Additionally, Olszewski highlighted his administration’s efforts to reshape transportation infrastructure. Since taking office in 2018, Baltimore County has:

  • Created the County’s first dedicated transportation bureau

  • Worked toward expanding Locally Operated Transit by investing in capital and operational funds for the Towson Circulator Pilot program

  • Dedicated $1.8 million for bike lanes and pedestrian access

  • Invested record funding in road resurfacing and traffic calming funding

  • Began modernizing Baltimore County’s Bike and Pedestrian Plan —which had not been updated since 2006

The Baltimore region is one of the 20 most congested areas in the United States, with the average commute time topping 30 minutes. For residents who travel by MTA bus, commute times are often much longer.

County Executive Calls for $400 Million in Statewide School Construction Funding

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will once again make school construction and transportation funding the linchpins of his legislative agenda for the upcoming General Assembly session.


“There are significant needs for school construction and maintenance in every school district across the state,” said Kamenetz. “Governor Hogan’s current level of funding is simply inadequate. We must increase the statewide funding to at least $400 million, and we must do it now. Counties are unable to keep up with maintenance needs due to the lack of matching state funds. Our students and teachers deserve no less.”

Baltimore County’s request for school construction funding is $122 million.


In October, the County Executive presented his transportation priorities to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), which included a $60 million request for projects in every region of the County. First and foremost in the request is the County Executive’s support for the Red Line. “While Governor Hogan continues to deplete the Transportation Trust Fund, people all over the state remain stuck in traffic.”

Paid Sick Leave

County Executive Kamenetz will work closely with members of the Baltimore County delegation and leadership in Annapolis on issues throughout the 90-day session. “I will start by doing whatever I can do to assist legislators in overriding Governor Hogan’s veto of the paid sick leave bill,” Kamenetz stated. “Governor Hogan’s refusal to give working families paid sick leave is outrageous, and I am confident the General Assembly will fight for working families despite the Governor.”

Renewable Energy

The County Executive will join clean energy advocates in their effort to ensure that Maryland reaches a 50 percent renewable energy portfolio by 2030. The current standard calls for a 25 percent use of renewables by 2020. “People all across the state want Maryland to be a leader in increasing its renewable energy commitment. You don’t do this by standing still, and I look forward to working with advocates and legislative leaders to move this initiative forward.”

Build on Last Year’s Success

During the 2017 session, Kamenetz worked closely with legislators to strengthen Maryland’s sexual assault laws, extend the fracking ban, support affordable prescription drug legislation and fight for the Trust Act. “People all across the state care about education, public safety, health care, and quality of life issues like environmental protection and renewable energy,” concluded Kamenetz. “If Governor Hogan won’t lead on these issues, the legislature will, and I will do whatever I can to support those efforts.”

Asks State for Traffic Congestion Relief with Objective Cost Analysis

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz presented his State transportation priorities to Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Pete K. Rahn yesterday afternoon during the Secretary’s visit to Baltimore County as part of MDOT’s annual Consolidated Transportation Program tour.

The County Executive’s request letter is below:

October 23, 2017

Honorable Pete K. Rahn, Secretary
Maryland Department of Transportation
7201 Corporate Center Drive
P.O. Box 548
Hanover, Maryland 21076

Dear Secretary Rahn:

On behalf of the citizens of Baltimore County, I thank the staff of the Maryland Department of Transportation for your continued consideration of our transportation priorities. Recently, Amazon announced its plans for a second headquarters. The New York Times indicated that Amazon has laid out in meticulous detail its desires for the new headquarters. In addition to a metropolitan area with more than one million residents, Amazon insists that its new project have on-site access to mass transit, a commute of 45 minutes or less to an international airport and easy access to a major highway or arterial road—no more than two miles. Amazon also wants traffic congestion figures. As you are aware, several counties in Maryland have submitted bids for this new economic opportunity.

This is one of the many reasons I continue to advocate for congestion relief and that a cost analysis be undertaken statewide to include the average daily trips (ADT) to be accommodated for each State dollar of investment for transportation improvements. This reasoned, nonbinding analysis could help guide the Department in making wise investment choices of limited capital dollars. It is estimated that each State dollar invested in the Baltimore region will reach more than 25 percent of the State’s population.

We need a comprehensive regional transit system that will support our local economy and accommodate future economic growth in a safe and reliable manner. For these reasons, I am requesting the following transportation priorities be considered as part of the FY 2018 to FY 2023 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP), to ensure that Baltimore County and the entire Baltimore region have the transit solutions necessary to promote economic growth and enhance the quality of life for our communities.

Commuter Mass Transit Alternatives—Baltimore Region

I remain hopeful that some of the recent improvements to the bus system will benefit existing riders. However, I also believe that a comprehensive mass transit strategy will attract new riders—those “choice” riders who must be persuaded to give up their use of automobiles—if we truly want to relieve gridlock in our region.

The idea of attracting choice riders to mass transit is not a new concept. The State accepted responsibility for providing our region with rail mass transit 45 years ago, and Baltimore County has benefitted from construction of terminus stations for both the Metro and Light Rail systems. This shared vision also offered hope that reliable and efficient transit to connect east-west commuters through the region would become a reality, which the Red Line offered as the consensus solution by local, state and federal partners.

Notwithstanding the Governor’s decision to abandon the Red Line, it remains imperative that an east/west plan be developed that will address the transit needs of these choice riders. Such discussion should include consideration of a rail or rapid bus transit link starting from Woodlawn, which is home to more than 10,000 employees of the Social Security Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the FBI. Woodlawn provides easy access to I-695 and I-70, along with an existing park and ride lot, with right-of-way access already leading into the City.  This line should extend to an expanded Lexington Market transit hub and Port Covington transit hub, where it could join the existing Metro and Light Rail systems as transfer points. This concept represents a major opportunity to increase transit accessibility to a high volume of commuters in search of alternative transportation options. It could also mitigate the downtown tunnel cost that appeared to impact the State’s decision on the Red Line.

A mass transit link to Port Covington will also aid in attracting Amazon quality projects to the region, benefitting all of us.

Economic Development Related Traffic Improvements

Owings Mills

  • Funding of the long-planned interchange on Northwest Expressway (I-795) at Dolfield Boulevard remains a top County priority, as it will alleviate traffic congestion due to increased economic development in the area associated with the Metro Center transit-oriented development (TOD) and Foundry Row (Wegmans) retail and office center.  Baltimore County previously has demonstrated its support by providing $1.5M million in planning and acquisition money to the State for the interchange, as well as completion of the $6M Dolfield Boulevard improvements.  This priority has the support of the Owings Mills Corporate Roundtable, comprised of the region’s major employers, including CareFirst and T. Rowe Price, as well as the developers of major job producing projects situated on Red Run Boulevard.

Sparrows Point

Baltimore County is excited that its vision for the future of Sparrows Point is being embraced by Trade Point Atlantic.  The plan incorporates the highest and best use of this unique asset:  3,100 acres of industrial zoned land, with access to deep water port channel, two interstate highways and two rail lines.  We once again urge the State to invest in certain infrastructure improvements to facilitate implementation of the plan.  State infrastructure investment to support the Port of Baltimore and Trade Point Atlantic will result in a generation of new jobs for the region.

  • The construction of a full interchange at I-695 and Exit 44 (Broening Highway) would maximize the potential redevelopment activities at Trade Point Atlantic, would allow for truck avoidance of the toll plaza, and would reduce truck traffic that impacts residential communities on Dundalk and Holabird Avenues.
  • Several bridges are in danger of closure due to lack of maintenance, and without rehabilitation present an impediment to the success of the Trade Point Atlantic project:
  • MD 151 over Wharf Road and Industrial Railroad (Bridge No. 0309900)
  • MD 157 over Ramps to I-695 (Bridge No. 0330900)
  • Wharf Road Ramp over Wharf Road
  • Wharf Road over Baltimore Industrial Railroad (Bridge No. 0335100)

White Marsh-Middle River

  • Designation of the AV Williams property and the former federal depot site adjacent to the Middle River MARC Train Station as a transit-oriented development project would stimulate the economy creating retail, residential and transportation opportunities for that area. Relocation of the Martin MARC Station to the east side of MD43 will accelerate opportunity.
  • Funding for street improvements on Philadelphia Road (MD 7) including, widening and raising of the road from Mohrs Lane to Campbell Boulevard is needed. This roadway improvement will increase traffic capacity and roadway safety for the future Campbell Boulevard extension. This future connection would not only provide another important link between MD 43 corridor and White Marsh Town Center, but it would also enhance Pulaski Highway as a location for new employment-related development. Currently, there is no east to west access from Pulaski Highway between Middle River Road and MD 43.

Towson-York Road

York Road (MD-45) is a critical artery serving the greater Towson area. Large businesses and institutions like UMMS-St. Joseph’s and Towson University are connected to downtown Towson by York Road, as well as a number of local communities like Anneslie, Rodgers Forge, Stoneleigh, Wiltondale, Aigburth Manor, Burkleigh Square, The Green and Yorkleigh. Bike and pedestrian access from south to north into downtown Towson is virtually non-existent, while key intersections like York Road and Burke Avenue prove both daunting for bike-pedestrian crossing and operate at a near failing level of service (LOS) for vehicular traffic. The demand for safe and reliable passage to and from downtown Towson by York Road will only escalate in the future, as the $350 million mixed-use development Towson Row progresses toward construction at the southern entry point of downtown Towson. 

  • Baltimore County proposes that the State commit funding into the FY 2018 to FY 2023 Consolidated Transportation Program for the planning, design, engineering and construction of multi-modal enhancements to York Road to facilitate access into downtown Towson. Project elements should include an off-road shared pedestrian-bicycle path on York Road from Cross Campus Drive to Burke Avenue, an extended sidewalk and congestion reduction improvements at the intersection of York Road and Burke Avenue, conversion of yield lane to right turn only lane at York Road and Burke Avenue to enhance pedestrian safety, and the widening of York Road to allow for turn-pass lanes that facilitate the provision of efficient and dependable transit service. These improvements would be supported by local communities and businesses, and local property owners have indicated an interest in providing right of way to support implementation of multi-modal access.

Community Development—Streets, Streetscape and Sidewalk Improvements

There are a number of minor transportation projects that can inject new opportunities for older business communities.

  • Kenwood Avenue Sidewalk from Lillian Holt Road to Hazelwood Avenue

The County portion of Kenwood Avenue has been completed for many years. The State’s portion of Kenwood Avenue near Overlea High School has not been completed. Completion of Kenwood Avenue sidewalk would enhance pedestrian safety for Overlea High School. 

  • Frederick Road MD 144 (Frederick Road from Prospect Avenue to Briarwood Road) 

Local residents and property owners have been discussing ways to improve the Paradise Business Community. There have been significant improvements made to the greater Catonsville commercial corridor on Frederick Road outside of the Beltway, but more needs to be done for the vulnerable part of the corridor inside the Beltway. Specifically, improvements would include sidewalks, landscaping, tree trimming, street lighting, and furniture that would help give Paradise a more cohesive appearance. The most important improvement would be the removal of the elevated tree planters that impede pedestrian traffic and block signage. The main building behind the planters has been purchased and a new streetscape could leverage-encourage reinvestment into this building and others along this section of the corridor.

  • Eastern Avenue Maryland 150 (Mace Avenue to Maryland 702)

The Eastern Avenue Streetscape project in downtown Essex is one of the oldest in the County and in need of significant upgrades. The wooden benches have rotted, trees have died leaving empty wells, sidewalks are in need of repair, etc. The public realm looks downtrodden and it is very difficult to encourage private reinvestment for improvements in buildings. A priority would be the downtown blocks and gateways into the older downtown "main street." Public investment could also jumpstart renewed business activism and involvement.

  • Loch Raven Boulevard MD 542 (Taylor Avenue to Loch Hill Road)

A number of years ago, Loch Raven Boulevard benefitted from extensive median and streetscaping work from Putty Hill Avenue to Taylor Avenue.  While this was an appreciated improvement, it has not been completed.  Funds are being sought to provide for the continuation of median and streetscape improvements from Taylor Avenue to Loch Hill Road.

Thank you for this opportunity to present Baltimore County’s transportation priorities in the FY 2018 to FY 2023 CTP.

Very truly yours,                                                               
Kevin Kamenetz
Baltimore County Executive


  • Honorable Larry Hogan, Governor
  • Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Senate President
  • Honorable Michael E. Busch, Speaker of the House
  • Baltimore County Senate and House Delegation
  • Baltimore County Council
  • Fred Homan, Administrative Officer, Baltimore County
  • Steve Walsh, Director, Baltimore County Department of Public Works

Revised October 16, 2020               
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