TRIP’s Top 40 Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in Maryland


Executive Summary

Maryland’s transportation system has played a significant role in the state’s development, providing mobility and access for residents, visitors, businesses and industry. The state’s roads, highways, rails, ports and public transit systems remain the backbone of the Old Line State’s economy. Maryland’s transportation system also provides for a high quality of life and makes the state a desirable place to live and visit. The condition and quality of its transportation system will play a critical role in Maryland’s ability to continue to recover from the recession, capitalize on its economic advantages and meet the demands of the 21st Century.

To achieve sustainable economic growth, Maryland must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, bridges, highways and public transit systems. Enhancing critical segments of Maryland’s transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in Maryland and provides information on the transportation projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth. Sources of data include the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP has identified and ranked the 40 transportation projects that are most needed to support Maryland’s economic growth. These projects are located throughout the state.

•            The most needed transportation improvements in Maryland include projects to build, expand or modernize roads, highways bridges and mass transit facilities These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making Maryland an attractive place to live, visit and do business.

•            TRIP ranked each transportation project based on a rating system that considered the following: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and the long- term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.

•            Maryland’s 10 most needed transportation projects to support economic development in the state as determined by TRIP follow. Additional details on these and the other projects that make up the 40 most needed projects in Maryland for economic recovery and growth are included in the report’s Appendix.

1.Widening I-95/I-495 in Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties. This $5.8 billion project extends from the American Legion Bridge to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and would include widening, the addition of HOV/HOT lanes and bridge rehabilitation and replacements. This project would relieve congestion and improve mobility and movement in the area immediately around Washington, DC. The initial phase of this project would likely be an $800 million project from the American Legion Bridge to I-270, which would include widening, the use of reversible lanes, HOT/HOV lanes and rehabilitation or replacement of the American Legion bridge. Job creation will be spurred in the short term by these projects, while long-term benefits include improved accessibility and greater regional productivity.

2.Replacing the Governor Nice Bridge in Charles County. This $885 million project would replace the existing Governor Nice bridge, which does not meet current standards and is reaching capacity during peak travel times. By 2025, traffic on the bridge is projected to increase by 45 percent on weekdays and 33 percent on weekends. This project will create construction jobs in the short term, while reducing travel times and fuel costs and promoting regional economic development in the long-term.

3.Widening and bridge rehabilitation and replacement on I-695 in Baltimore.

This $1.2 billion project would continue the efforts to widen I-695 and replace or rehabilitate deficient bridges. Completion of this project would alleviate congestion in the Baltimore area on the primary route for moving people and goods through the region and beyond. It would also reduce travel time and gasoline costs for Maryland citizens and visitors. The initial phase of this project would likely be the $85 million rehabilitation or replacement of three bridges.

4. Construction of the Purple Line from Bethesda to New Carrolton. This $1.9 billion project includes a two-track light rail line with dedicated running way, 21 stations and two maintenance facilities. The Purple Line is estimated to serve 60,000 riders per day in 2030. It will also provide faster, more reliable transit in congested corridors and connect directly to existing rail and bus service.

5.Widening and Interchanges on MD 5 in Prince George’s County. This $1.1 billion project would widen and add interchanges to 10.5 miles of MD 5 between US 301 and I-95/I-495. It will relieve congestion and improve operations along the MD 5 corridor while improving east-west movement in Prince George’s County. The project will create jobs in the short-term and will accommodate increased traffic volumes stemming from anticipated development along the MD 5 corridor in the long-term.

6.Widening MD 295 from four lanes to six. This $220 million project would widen more than three miles of MD 295 from MD 100 to I-195 in Baltimore. It would also provide a new interchange at Hanover Road with widening and relocation of Hanover Road from MD 295 to MD 170. Congestion will be eased and access would be improved to the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, one of the state’s economic engines.

7.Red Line Light Rail Transitway from Woodlawn to Bayview Medical Center.

This $2.2 billion project would add 14 miles of two-track light rail line with dedicated running way, 19 stations and a maintenance facility. The new line is projected to serve 57,000 riders per day in 2030, provide faster, more reliable transit in congested corridors, and connect directly to existing rail and bus services. It will provide key connectivity in this east/west corridor and to existing Metro, light rail and MARC transit services.

8.Widening US 29 Northbound. This $104 million project would widen the northbound section of US 29 from Seneca Drive to MD 175 from two lanes to three. This project will improve safety and reduce congestion on a major commuting route through Columbia between Washington and Baltimore. The southbound section is currently three lanes.

9.Interchange construction at MD 97 at MD 28 in Montgomery County. This $142 million project would construct an interchange at MD 97 and MD 28 in Montgomery County to relieve congestion and provide needed bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The project will support access to and from the Intercounty Connector and regional corridors of I-95 and I-270.

10.Interchange construction at MD 210 and Kerby Hill Road/Livingston Road. This $126 million project would convert the intersection of MD 210 and Kerby Hill Road/ Livingston Road into a grade-separtated interchange. Completion of the project would improve safety and operations along the corridor during peak hours and help improve north-to-south movement in southern Prince George’s County. The project will create jobs in the short term and will accommodate anticipated growth and development along the MD 210 corridor.

Transportation projects that improve the efficiency, condition or safety of a highway or transit route provide significant economic benefits by reducing transportation delays and costs associated with a deficient transportation system. Some benefits of transportation improvements include the following.

•            Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers.

•            Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles.

•            Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.

•            Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.

•            A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.

•            The creation of both short-term and long-term jobs.

•            Transportation projects that expand roadway or transit capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.

•            Transportation projects that maintain and preserve existing transportation infrastructure also provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carry abilities and safety, and reducing operating costs for people and businesses. Such projects also extend the service life of a road, bridge or transit vehicle or facility, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.

•            Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes.

•            A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.

•            The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

While Maryland’s diverse economy has been impacted by the recession, the state’s transportation system will need to accommodate projected future growth.

•            From 1990 to 2010, Maryland’s population increased by 21 percent, from approximately 4.8 million to approximately 5.8 million. Maryland’s population is expected to increase to 6.7 million by 2030.

•            From 1990 to 2010, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 38 percent, from approximately 40.5 billion VMT to 56.1 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Maryland will increase another 30 percent by 2030, reaching approximately 73 billion VMT.

•            Maryland’s unemployment rate nearly doubled from 3.3 percent in February 2008 to 6.5 percent in February 2012. The national unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in February 2012.

•            In 2012, Maryland is projected to have a 3.6 percent rate of economic growth, measured in real GSP, which is factored for price changes. This rate of growth is higher than the forecast 3.4 percent increase in national real GSP in 2012.

•            Maryland has benefited from a diverse economy, which includes significant employment in the following sectors: transportation, government services, food production (including fishing and agriculture), manufacturing and biotechnology.

Maryland’s economy is served by an extensive surface transportation system that has some deficiencies and experiences severe congestion in key areas. Roads carry the majority of freight shipped in the state.

•            Maryland’s system of 31,461 miles of roads and 5,195 bridges, maintained by local, state and federal governments, carry 55.3 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.

•            Forty-four percent of Maryland’s major roads are deficient, with 26 percent rated in poor condition and an additional 18 percent rated mediocre in 2008. An additional 15 percent of the state’s major roads were rated in fair condition and 41 percent were rated in good condition.

•            Seven percent of Maryland’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2011. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.

•            In 2011, 18 percent of Maryland’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

•            Every year, approximately $131 billion in goods are shipped annually from sites in Maryland and another $205 billion in goods are shipped annually to sites in Maryland, mostly by truck.

•            Eighty-one percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Maryland are carried by trucks and another 13 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.

The full report can be viewed at:

An appendix listing the 40 projects can be viewed at:

Sources of data for this report include the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available

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