The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) announces a comprehensive set of initiatives implemented in response to feedback received from the American Public Transportation Administration (APTA) Peer Review. These actions will keep MDOT MTA on track to deliver more than $900 million in planned rail infrastructure improvements over the next several years. Projects include rail installation, interlocking renewals, and timber tie replacement in addition to vehicle overhauls.
“Safety is our first priority and this organizational restructuring will ensure that MDOT MTA continues operating efficiently and effectively for years to come,” said Administrator Kevin Quinn. “In accordance with Secretary Rahn’s directive, I have established a senior management-level task force that will take all necessary actions to execute the recommendations we received from APTA.”
Recognizing that the Peer Review is an important tool in MDOT MTA’s assessment and development of best operating practices, MDOT MTA is focused on the following areas of investment:
Infrastructure and Vehicles
MDOT MTA is taking a holistic approach to rail infrastructure and maintenance. Since February 2018, MDOT MTA has replaced over 39,000 linear feet of rail on the Metro SubwayLink system. From FY 2016 to 2018 MDOT MTA invested over $40 million in track maintenance, which represents a $15 million increase over the previous three-year period. In addition, MDOT MTA is investing $400 million in all-new Metro railcars and$150 million to overhaul the Light Rail fleet. These record-spending amounts demonstrate the agency’s strong commitment to maintaining a robust and safe rail system.
MDOT MTA reorganized staff to move the Track and Structural Engineering department to directly report to the Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Rail. Aligning both Engineering and Operations under the same managing director will allow for more executive oversight and accountability of MDOT MTA’s rail maintenance program including development of ongoing training schedules, procedures for evaluating rail testing data and formal process for specification review. This move addresses the lack of communication and coordination between departments that was a significant contributing factor to the shutdown.
Technology and Training
MDOT MTA will be implementing mobile technology to facilitate the completion of inspection reports at field level. All staff have been retrained on the necessary software and ongoing training has been scheduled. The track inspection process has been restructured to create stronger oversight and ensure standardization of reporting. Directives for data backup and recovery have been issued.
Planned Metro SubwayLink track maintenance will begin on Sept. 14 and run through Nov. 4. All stations will remain open for service as the track work is completed. The maintenance work will be performed on weekends with single-tracking to maintain service for riders at all times. In addition, planned track maintenance and rail replacement for the five Light RailLink stations between Hunt Valley and Timonium Fairgrounds are scheduled for Sept. 14 through Oct.4, 2018. Both the Light RailLink stations and track will be closed during this time. To accommodate riders, MDOT MTA will increase service on the LocalLink 93, which currently runs between affected stations. MDOT MTA realizes the critical importance transit has on its riders and will make every effort to minimize disruption to its passengers’ commute during this rail work.
In recognition of the public interest in transparency as well as full disclosure in the inspection and maintenance of a safe, well-documented rail system, MDOT MTA has taken the unprecedented action of posting both the comprehensive APTA peer review report and the individual Metro SubwayLink and Light RailLink inspection reports for the last five years. These reports are available at MTA’s website: mta.maryland.gov/inspections.