The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is not in favor of a pair of bills that grants funding to the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit Project.
The line would connect the Branch Avenue Metro station to Waldorf and White Plains in Charles County. Following the passage of House Bill 414 and Senate Bill 81 in Maryland’s state legislature, the MDOT is now required to begin the design of the project and engineer the new line. However, during the bill hearing the agency said it had issues with the execution of the project. A light-rail alternative has already been determined before the National Environmental Policy Act process has begun. The MDOT does not believe that was a wise choice, and also said pulling funds from the state’s Transportation Trust Fund will affect future funding for other projects. The agency, however, supports the end goal of the light-rail project.
The governor will need to allot $5 million annually for the project. The initial proposed funding was $12 million in 2023 and another $15 million in 2024. The House bill amended the funding to set aside the $5 million a year. The cost of the project could change due to the environmental impact study and the amount of federal funding available.
House Bill 414 has now been referred to the Senate Committee on Budget and Taxation for further review.