President Obama's Administration Expedites Infrastructure Projects, Including Baltimore’s Red Line
President Obama's Administration announced the selection of 14 infrastructure projects around the country, including the Baltimore Red Line, that will be expedited through permitting and environmental review processes. This is an important next step in the Administration’s efforts to improve the efficiency of federal reviews needed to help job-creating infrastructure projects move as quickly as possible from the drawing board to completion.
Henry Kay, deputy administrator of the Maryland Transit Administration, said the designation was "excellent news" but said it was no guarantee that a project previously projected for a 2020 opening would be completed in 2018. "It could potentially speed it up as much as two years, but everything would have to work perfectly," he said.
Mr. Kay said the decision could help the MTA speed its dealing with federal environmental agencies that would have to issue permits for various aspects of the project – including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Mr. Kay said the move also could help hasten dealings with the Social Security Administration and General Services Administration on issues related to the transit line.
The MTA has had a good working relationship with federal agencies, Mr. Kay said. But he said the administration's designation can help because "time isn't always everyone's priority."