ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced today the formation of a regional transit partnership with Anne Arundel County that is expected to generate $2 million in yearly efficiencies that can be used to improve service for riders.
County Executive Ulman congratulated Anne Arundel County for agreeing to join the Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland (RTA). Discussions are continuing with several other jurisdictions that have indicated interest in participating, he said.
“We are taking a huge step forward for innovation and efficiency, and the customers of our transit services will directly benefit,” said County Executive Ulman. “We recently created the first Howard County Office of Transportation to find a better way to provide service and streamline operations, and we are now able to execute a well-conceived plan, in conjunction with our neighbors. I am so pleased that Anne Arundel County will be a partner in this effort.”
A Memorandum of Understanding between Anne Arundel and Howard counties, signed last week, becomes effective July 1, 2014.
“I am very excited about this partnership with Howard County and the benefits that the Regional Transportation Agency creates,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman. “As equal partners in this collaboration, both Counties will have more effective management over operating costs, provide expanded service areas to public transit customers at a lower unit cost and have a more active role in transportation planning.”
Howard County Council Chair Dr. Calvin Ball, who recently sponsored a Council Resolution aimed at transportation improvements, noted, “In order to ensure an effective transportation system that meets the needs of the public, we must partner through innovative ways across the region.”
The RTA will coordinate, manage and operate all existing transit services in member jurisdictions, including bus routes and Connect-A-Ride services.
Under the regional plan, member jurisdictions are expected to save 17 percent on transit operations through reductions in administrative costs and duplication, and by streamlining budgeting, accounting and other tasks. The RTA will be overseen by a commission with representation from all member jurisdictions.
In Howard County, the savings from the new operation are expected to be $1.24 million yearly, and will be used to fund additional transit services, including route improvements.
The Anne Arundel County Transportation Commission reviewed the business model for becoming part of a regional transit entity and confirmed an annual savings of more than $500,000 to Anne Arundel County taxpayers.
Discussions are continuing with several other jurisdictions, including the City of Laurel. In the City of Annapolis, city aldermen recently adopted a resolution in support of a regional approach to transit.
In an effort to better service the new partnership, construction will begin soon on a new regional transit facility that will provide a single location for service and maintenance of vehicles owned and operated by members of the RTA.
An official groundbreaking for a Regional Transit Facility located at 8800 Corridor Road, Annapolis Junction is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, March 28 at 10:30 a.m. Construction is expected to be completed mid-November 2014.pt unified trade