Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project gets funding boost

May 26, 2022
The planned project will extend rapid transit from the Capital Beltway near the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station through Prince George’s County and into Charles County.

A planned rapid transit connection that would enhance mobility from the Capital Beltway into Prince George’s County and Charles County, Md., received a $5 million grant made possible by the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bill that was passed in March.

The Southern Maryland Rapid Transit (SMRT) was one of several projects to receive direct funding under the designation of “community project funding/congressionally directed spending.” In a joint statement, U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and U.S. Rep Steny Hoyer (all D-MD) said the funding will be used for the planning, design, engineering and environmental review process of the project.

“This money has been long awaited. During the last 25 years, this region’s population has doubled and traffic increased exponentially. Simply put, we need more public transit. Our workers need to be able to get to work. Local businesses need to spend more time with clients than their vehicles. We waste too much time in congestion and we send too much pollution into the air. These new federal investments help get people out of their automobiles and are a real step in the right direction,” said Sen. Cardin.

The planned 19-mile, fixed-route, high-capacity transit corridor will serve major regional employment centers – including Joint Base Andrews and MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center – help alleviate traffic between Washington, D.C., and Charles County, and serve as a catalyst for economic and job growth. Project stakeholders note the MD 5/US 301 corridor is the only one leading to Washington, D.C., with undeveloped parcels. While several plans have been developed, moving them to delivery has lagged and officials believe the transit corridor could be the spark needed to jump start development.

“This project is Charles County's highest transportation priority and the most critical component of our future mobility in the Branch Avenue corridor. In the big picture, this phase of the project is a small investment in the view of the federal and state budgets, but it will reap immeasurable benefits for the mobility of our residents as well as business development in the Maryland economy,” said Charles County Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq.

Sen. Van Hollen, who along with Sen. Cardin included the project in the congressionally directed spending priorities, added "With this new transit system, more folks will be able to get where they’re going with less hassle. I’ll keep working to invest in infrastructure improvements in our communities."

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.