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Federal government awards $10 million grant to improve North Avenue

The Baltimore Sun
The Maryland Department of Transportation received a $10 million federal grant Friday to improve North Avenue

North Avenue will get an extensive makeover starting next year, thanks to a $10 million grant awarded Friday by the U.S. Transportation Department.

The project, dubbed North Avenue Rising, involves repaving the road and adding dedicated bus and bike lanes along its five-mile length from Fairmont on the west side to Baltimore Cemetery in the east.

With a total price of $27.3 million, the project is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017, said Erin Henson, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Transportation, which received the federal grant. Funding for the project includes $14.7 million from the state, $1 million from the city of Baltimore and $1.6 million from the Federal Highway Administration.

North Avenue, which connects East and West Baltimore, is the second-most-traveled bus route in the city.

The North Avenue Rising project is intended to increase access to employment and essential services for low-income residents. The project is part of Gov. Larry Hogan's BaltimoreLink transit plan, which is dedicated to improving transportation in the region.

"After decades of lack of investment, North Avenue and the surrounding communities will get the long-overdue attention they deserve," Hogan said in a statement.

Other projects in the BaltimoreLink plan include redesigning the local and express bus systems in Baltimore and adding 12 new high-frequency, color-coded bus routes.

The federal grant comes from the TIGER program, short for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. Established in 2009, the program has awarded $5.1 billion to 421 projects.

The U.S. Transportation Department received 585 applications for funding from 50 states this year. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the program rewards innovative thinking and collaborative solutions to transportation problems.

"A great TIGER program doesn't just improve transportation," he said, "it expands economic opportunity and transforms a community."

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