WALDORF, Md. – During a recent meeting, Congress approved a $5 million earmark for the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit (SMRT) project within the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022.
This federal funding commitment stands on the shoulders of the Maryland General Assembly’s enactment of breakthrough legislation last year. It also saw a legislative amendment to the FY22 State budget that requires the Maryland Department of Transportation to commit $5 million in state funds for the designing, engineering, environmental processing.
The SMRT project has been a major talking point in Charles and Prince George’s counties for many years.
“After decades of planning and five major state studies, the planets have aligned to make SMRT a reality and bring fast, safe and accessible rapid transit service to our citizens,” Gary V. Hodge, a former Southern Maryland elected official and regional council executive, said. “The next few years will be crucial as we work with the State and our partners in Prince George’s and Charles County on the final steps necessary to prepare the project for construction.”
The SMRT Project will provide rapid transit using a dedicated guideway that will run from the Branch Avenue Metro Station in Camp Springs, next to MD 5 and US 301 in Prince George’s County, and along the west side of the Pope’s Creek Railroad to the Waldorf-White Plains area in Charles County.
With implementing SMRT, the number of transit trips in the study corridor is expected to increase by approximately 18,000 daily transit trips (18%), according to the project documents. Most of the new transit trips in the SMRT Corridor (over 70 percent) are home-based work and home-based other trips. The largest growth in transit trips occurs for trips within the Charles County portion of the SMRT Corridor.
“I think that, while it’s great for Charles County, you have to have a larger aperture, and it is great for Southern Maryland as a whole. People get on a commuter bus, and people drive to work,” in Washington, D.C., from St. Mary’s County, Delegate Brian Crosby told Herald-Mail in 2021.
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