Victory for Southern Maryland Rapid Transit In Annapolis

press release

April 16, 2021

 

Southern Maryland Rapid Transit (SMRT) took a giant step forward on the last day of the 2021 session with the General Assembly’s adoption of legislation sponsored by Delegate Debra Davis (D-Charles) and State Senator Arthur Ellis (D-Charles), expressing the State’s strong support for the project and a multi-year funding commitment in the budget.

The bill (HB414) requires the Maryland Department of Transportation to promptly complete the design, engineering and NEPA environmental studies necessary to prepare the SMRT project for future construction, and mandates an annual appropriation in the State budget to carry out the work.

The legislature designated $5 million in the State’s next operating budget for Fiscal Year 2022 to “jump start” the SMRT project, and mandated an annual appropriation of $5 million for the project in the State budget each year from FY23 to FY27, contingent on federal matching funds.

Discussions are underway with the Maryland Congressional Delegation to secure a federal funding commitment.

After many years of work, with the support of elected officials, allies and friends in Prince George’s and Charles counties, and across the State, the legislature’s commitment to bring this “consequential and transformative” infrastructure project to the threshold of implementation is an historic breakthrough.

“Our goal of bringing fast, safe and accessible rapid transit service to the 439,000 residents of the MD5-US301 corridor of Southern Maryland—and provide an alternative to one of the worst commutes in America—has just gotten a major boost,” said Gary V. Hodge, MTOC vice-chair and a leading advocate for the project.

The proposed 19-mile route between Waldorf and White Plains in Charles County, and the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station in Prince George’s County, will include a dozen stations and carry an estimated 28,000 passengers per day. Light rail, the preferred transit option, is a proven catalyst for economic growth, new jobs and walkable mixed-use communities around transit stations and activity centers.