Transportation Secretary James T. Smith, Jr., last Friday praised U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for her hard work to deliver funding for key Maryland transportation projects as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 that passed Congress last weekend and signed by President Barack Obama.
“Once again, Senator Mikulski has delivered for Maryland, from targeted investments in the Port of Baltimore and regional aviation to Metro safety and the Purple Line and the Red Line. Funding these key projects will ensure our strong transportation network continues to support economic growth for years to come,” said Transportation Secretary Smith.
Included in the Maryland Transportation Projects, to be delivered in the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2015 Spending Bill, is more than $60 million in priority investments in the Port of Baltimore.
Investments in the Port include:
- 50-Foot Shipping Channels – $23.725 million in dredging to maintain the Port’s 50-foot shipping channels, which is critical to keeping the Port competitive in preparation for the new megaships that will come through the Panama Canal when it reopens in 2016;
- C&D Canal – $22.355 million in dredging to maintain this shortcut for vessels traveling between Baltimore and points north; and
- Poplar Island – $15.1 million to continue the Poplar Island environmental restoration project that provides the Port a dredge placement site to keep the Port’s shipping channel’s dredged. Poplar Island has been recognized nationally for its beneficial use of dredge material to rebuild long-eroded islands and create wetlands that serve as wildlife sanctuaries. After decades of erosion, Poplar Island has been restored to its original capacity of 1,100 acres using dredged material and provides habitat today for many different species of wildlife and waterfowl.