Maryland will receive $6 million to fund improvements at Baltimore’s Penn Station, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Thursday.
The money will go toward creating new bus-only lanes on North Charles Street, adding curb additions at bus stops along North Charles and St. Paul streets, and making other curb improvements near the station.
Other changes meant to improve connectivity for walkers and bicyclists include a secure space for bike parking, traffic light and crosswalk improvements on North Charles and St. Paul, new bridge railings, work on the Jones Falls Trail, interactive kiosks and public plaza improvements.
The 110-year-old station is already in the midst of a $150 million renovation that will include extending the concourse, constructing two new train platforms and creating dining and retail amenities. It’s expected to be finished by 2025.
When making funding decisions, the Department of Transportation considered whether projects would promote racial equity and economic growth, particularly in historically disadvantaged communities. Twenty-six percent of people living within the Penn Station project’s area live below the poverty line, according to a news release.
About one in three Baltimore residents lack access to a car. A 2021 analysis from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition found that the city’s transit system failed to serve its users, the majority of whom are low-income people of color.
Buttigieg also announced that Prince George’s County will receive $20.5 million for improvements to the New Carrollton station, which serves MARC, Metrorail and Amtrak riders.
The funding will be used to make the station easier and safer to access for pedestrians and cyclists, link to other bus lines and the future Maryland Purple Line light rail, and encourage development in the area.
Maryland’s award comes out of the federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program, intended to modernize transit infrastructure and make travel more accessible and sustainable.
President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law added about $7.5 billion over five years to the program, which will give out $2.2 billion to states this year for planning and capital investments in transportation systems.