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Federal Funding Received To Replace Light Rail Fleet

February 20th, 2024 by WCBC Radio

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) announced $213,696,341 to the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to complete its Light Rail Vehicle Fleet Replacement project. The federal funds, provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Rail Vehicle Replacement (RVR) program, will support the MTA’s efforts to replace all 52 aging light rail vehicles in its fleet with new ones.

These investments will ensure safe, efficient, and more accessible light rail travel in the Baltimore region, and were made possible in part by the lawmakers’ work to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The RVR is a newly-established program in the infrastructure law.

“Maryland’s light rail service helps keep Baltimore area residents and the local economy on the move – which is why we need to keep it in top shape. This federal investment will provide the critical funds the MTA needs to fully replace its aging fleet with state-of-the-art rail cars and ensure that people across the City and surrounding communities can get where they need to go safely, efficiently and reliably. We worked to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act so that projects like these could bring our infrastructure into the 21st century,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“Public transit is critical to the social and economic life of Baltimore, and light rail is an integral piece of that service, connecting people to their jobs, schools, neighborhoods, and more,” said Senator Cardin. “Light rail riders deserve a system that is safe and reliable. Replacing the aging, outdated cars with modern cars will improve safety and service and is another example of how the Biden administration’s critical investments are working to help rebuild our nation’s transportation systems.”

“The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues to reap rewards for our state and our constituents,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said. “If we want commuters to use mass transit, it must be safe, affordable and convenient. This critical funding will enable MTA to replace its aging fleet of light rail cars to ensure safe travel for decades to come.”

“Marylanders rely on our light rail system to move throughout the Baltimore region safely and efficiently,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Currently, however, our aging fleet’s frequent service disruptions can make this a challenge. We recognize the burden unreliable transportation has on our constituents, which is why Team Maryland fought so hard to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to deliver these much-needed improvements for central Maryland commuters.” 

“The light rail system has, for decades, provided critical means of transportation for Maryland commuters and essential workers by connecting Baltimore City with northern and southern suburbs. However, an overhaul of the light rail fleet was long overdue,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume. “This momentous federal investment was made possible through the transformative Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Team Maryland fought to get signed into law, as well as our continued, unified voice on ensuring the safety and efficiency of Baltimore’s light rail,” he concluded.

“Reliable transit in the Baltimore region is essential to connecting Marylanders with life’s opportunities and spurring economic growth,” said Governor Moore. “Thanks to Team Maryland’s continued support and advocacy, this funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help ensure MTA’s light rail fleet is safe and operational for decades to come.”

“This federal funding is vital to enhancing safety, accessibility and performance on MTA’s light rail,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “By having a more reliable light rail fleet with low-floor cars, MTA will deliver premiere customer service to the greater Baltimore region.” 

Earlier this month, the lawmakers wrote a letter to the Federal Transit Administration in support of the MTA’s Light Rail Vehicle Fleet Replacement project. The State of Maryland is providing $90 million in matching funds and allocating $127.6 million in federal formula funds to the project to bring the effort across the finish line.