On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao awarded an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant in the amount of $125 million to the Howard Street Tunnel project. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce applauds this important development as it will advance economic opportunity for the state.
This federal grant, in addition to support from CSX and the State of Maryland, will be used to create a double-stack intermodal rail network along the I-95 corridor. This project is even more necessary as the Port of Baltimore continues to increase the amount of cargo it handles. In 2018, the Port set a new record by handling over 43 million tons of international cargo which was valued at $59.7 Billion. In addition to handling demand, double-stacking the Howard Street Tunnel will allow for the greater movement of goods and services from the Port of Baltimore. This increase in the movement of goods and services will result in more jobs and economic opportunities in Baltimore and statewide.
The Maryland Chamber has been lockstep in supporting the state and CSX’s efforts to receive federal funding for this project. We have met with members of our Congressional delegation, and have sent letters to the U.S. Department of Transportation and encouraged our members to do the same. In addition, we have fought against legislation in the General Assembly, such as two man crew bill, which would hamper the economic engine that is the Port of Baltimore.
To complete this important work, an additional $103 million is still needed. We are confident that our public and private partners will continue to work together to find the funding necessary for this crucial project, and the Maryland Chamber looks forward to supporting those efforts.