As Administrator and CEO of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration, I am committed to providing safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service. With 20 years in the transportation industry, I personally have seen the value of transit networks all across the country.

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Paul Comfort Administrator and CEO, Maryland Transit Administration (Courtesy Photo)

At the MTA, I am proud to lead a team of more than 3,000 employees who work hard every day to provide excellent service to our customers. These employees do it because they care about their neighbors. They care about the mother who relies on MTA to get to work on time so she can provide for her family. They care about the dad who rides the bus to visit a sick relative and expects and deserves his trip home to be on time so he can tuck his children into bed that night. They care about connecting people to life’s opportunities. Every MTA employee knows that our transit system is the key to family, jobs and life’s connections for so many throughout the region. That’s why we are committed to making MTA the best transit system it can be.   

The most important project MTA has underway to get our service to a new level of excellence is BaltimoreLink. Did you know that many MTA bus routes have not changed in more than 50 years? BaltimoreLink will rebuild our bus system to reflect where people live and work today. This exciting plan features bus-only traffic lanes, installation of transit signal priority to allow buses to get through intersections faster, construction of a transfer hub, replacement of more than 6,500 transit signs, expanded commuter bus service and new bicycle amenities. BaltimoreLink will give the Baltimore region a modern, more reliable transit system that people will want to use.

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council evaluated BaltimoreLink to measure how it improves access to jobs in the region. The analysis shows that the number of jobs accessible within 30 minutes on transit will increase by 20 percent. BaltimoreLink will connect people to 34,400 jobs via more frequent transit options. And, that’s why local groups and institutions such as the Baltimore Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Baltimore City Community College strongly support BaltimoreLink – because it increases connections to job centers, provides better access for students at colleges that deliver essential education and training, and ultimately will help grow our economy.

Since the transit improvement plan was announced in October 2015, MTA has received more than 2,000 public comments. We’ve also held more than 200 workshops and meetings to garner even more feedback. And, while BaltimoreLink planning continues, MTA already is delivering results. MTA is working with Baltimore City to strengthen enforcement of the new bus-only lanes that were painted red on Pratt and Lombard streets during the summer. And in June 2016, MTA launched Express BusLink, a unique service that connects job centers around the beltway in Baltimore County. One customer reported that what used to be a two-hour trip to work now takes 45 minutes. That’s a real difference – more than an hour each day he can spend with his family rather than being stuck in downtown city traffic.

I urge you to visit MTA’s website at mta.maryland.gov to take a look at the BaltimoreLink plan, learn about the new initiatives we have underway and use our trip planner to take a ride on MTA’s system. Join us and see how all of us at MTA are working to deliver a world-class transit system that will lift the city and the region and help our customers live their lives to the fullest.  

BaltimoreLink is just one MDOT initiative to connect Marylanders to life’s opportunities. To learn more about MDOT’s other initiatives, please visit mdot.maryland.gov.