BALTIMORE – U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari and Federal Transit Administrator (FTA) Peter Rogoff today participated in a groundbreaking to replace the Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) aging Kirk Avenue bus maintenance garage with a modern facility that will improve the reliability of local bus service for thousands of Baltimore-based riders who depend on public transit every day. The officials were joined by Congressman Elijah Cummings, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other state and local representatives.
“This project will create hundreds of good construction jobs in Baltimore while maintaining a fleet of transit buses that connect hard-working families to jobs, school, medical appointments, shopping and other destinations throughout the city,” said Deputy Secretary Porcari. “The new facility is important for maintaining a new generation of cleaner, greener transit vehicles in good working order for years to come.”
The new maintenance facility is the first phase in a two-phase, $140 million modernization project to replace the existing Kirk Avenue facility, which was built in 1947 and is located in a densely populated residential neighborhood in northeast Baltimore. The new facility will include two energy-efficient buildings that allow for improved maintenance and storage of approximately 175 buses. For the first time, all the buses will be brought indoors for service, thereby reducing noise, emissions, and other environmental impacts that have affected the community.
“Modernizing the Kirk Avenue bus facility will help ensure that the MTA has the right tools to maintain its growing fleet of energy-efficient hybrid buses and better serve the people of Baltimore,” said FTA Administrator Rogoff. “All across the United States, we are investing in projects like this one to improve our nation’s public transit infrastructure and attract a new generation of riders.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing $45 million toward Phase 1of the maintenance facility, including $40 million from FTA’s Bus and Bus Facilities Program for State of Good Repair. The State of Maryland is covering the remaining cost of the $65 million facility, which is expected to be completed in 2015. The second phase of the modernization project will include a new transportation and storage facility, with construction expected to begin in 2015.