July 08, 2024

Van Hollen, Cardin Announce $800,000 to Enhance Accessibility at Aberdeen Train Station

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) announced $800,000 in federal funding to increase accessibility to the Aberdeen Train Station. This federal investment for the City of Aberdeen’s Transit Oriented Development Station Square Improvement Project will allow further planning to support Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant improvements around the station, upgrades to pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and other multimodal improvements. The project ultimately aims to promote redevelopment surrounding the train station and spur new economic activity on the City’s Main Street. This funding is in addition to the $800,000 which the Senators delivered in March to support the first phase of project planning, as well as the $4,000,000 in direct federal funding the lawmakers secured for the project in Fiscal Year 2023.

The funds are provided through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) Grants Program, which the lawmakers fought to significantly boost funding for within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA). Today's announcement comes after the lawmakers wrote to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in March to support the city’s funding application.

“One of our top priorities in passing the infrastructure modernization law was to upgrade our outdated transportation systems – both to better serve Americans and to ensure degraded networks will no longer hold our economy back. With this federal investment, we are laying the groundwork for a safer, more inclusive public transit system in Aberdeen and greater local economic opportunity,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The economic and environmental benefits of public transit can only be fully realized when our transportation system can accommodate every rider. The critical improvements to Aberdeen Train Station that expand accessibility for Maryland’s disabled passengers will allow more transit riders to get where they need to go safely and efficiently,” said Senator Cardin. “This is both an investment in upgrading our statewide transportation infrastructure and creating more equitable access to our transit network.” 

“Aberdeen is pleased to be a recipient of a RAISE grant. The RAISE grant is another important step for this critical project, which will bring quality jobs to the area and provide Aberdeen’s residents and visitors an improved and accessible commuting experience. I appreciate the longtime support of our Congressional delegation. We look forward to continuing our partnership to see this project to completion,” said Mayor Patrick McGrady.

Currently, the Aberdeen Train Station is not accessible to people with disabilities. The station is accessed through two entrances that do not comply with ADA standards: a tunnel with stairways and a switchback pedestrian overpass, which was constructed in 1982. Additionally, the station crosses through the city, separating the communities on the East and West sides of the rail line. The project’s proposed improvements would remove the ADA-noncompliant switchback pedestrian bridge and support the construction of a new accessible pedestrian underpass that includes seating and walkways. Other project components include rail and platform upgrades and pedestrian safety improvements.

The lawmakers worked to authorize the RAISE Grant Program at $7.5 billion over five years under the IIJA. For fiscal year 2024, the program was funded at a combined $1.845 billion from both the infrastructure law and the FY24 government funding bill.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a once-in-a-generation investment in American infrastructure that will provide more than $7 billion in federal funding directly to Maryland over five years to strengthen our infrastructure from transit systems to roads and bridges to water infrastructure, broadband connectivity, and more. The lawmakers worked to secure passage of this law in Congress, which will help spur job creation, enhance U.S. competitiveness, and make our transportation systems more sustainable and equitable.