The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the MDOT Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) have renewed and expanded a voluntary Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to strengthen environmental initiatives at the Helen Delich Bentley’s state-owned, public marine terminals.
The agreement calls for a continued committed effort to reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency at the Port. The pact extends the original MOU signed five years ago by the agencies and adds MEA as a new partner.
“The public and private partners at the Port of Baltimore show every day that environmental stewardship can and must go hand-in-hand with job expansion and economic growth,” MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said. “Reduction of diesel emissions, creative reuse of dredged material and projects like the Howard Street Tunnel expansion – which will increase rail capacity and reduce truck fuel consumption – are elements of our environmental commitment supported by this MOU.”
As part of the agreement, the participating agencies meet monthly to discuss relevant air quality objectives, share information and collaborate to seek federal funding for air quality enhancement projects. MDE and MEA will provide technical assistance and assist with identifying and applying for both state and federal grants.
The parties also agreed to enhance climate resiliency and reduce air emissions, furthering policy objectives of Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act against the threat that climate change poses to Maryland. The agreement aims to seek increased input from nearby underserved communities when evaluating projects and programs to implement.
The project to expand the 126-year-old Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore, which could begin construction late this year, will allow for double-stacked container trains to and from the Port of Baltimore. The project will increase container capacity and business at the Port. Over 30 years, it will help avoid 1.2 billion truck vehicle miles traveled and reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 137 million gallons.