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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Touts $22M Grant For Mass Transit Improvements In Baltimore's East-West Corridor

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- We know it can take a while to get you from 'point A' to 'point B' on public transit, but local officials hope a $50 million project can cut down on travel times and eventually decrease traffic in Baltimore.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was in town today to announce $22 million is coming from a federal grant.

More than 100 bus stops will see improvements, from Fox Ridge in Essex to the Medicare and Medicaid services headquarters in Woodlawn.

Officials predict improved bus service across Baltimore City.

"The bus performance is going to be on time a lot better than it was before," said Bennie Williams, a MTA bus driver.

Williams, a driver for 21 years, sums it up in three words: "on time performance."

A $50 million investment will start within the next couple months with 10 miles of dedicated bus lanes.

"Let's break that bottleneck! Help the busses move more quickly," said Del. Robbyn Lewis.

"It's about getting people to where they need to go faster and more efficiently," said Mayor Brandon Scott.

ADA upgrades, shelters, benches and transit signal priority will follow.

"It really gives us a chance to help people to get where they need to be a lot quicker," said Williams

Real-time signage will be added, too, in hopes performance and ridership will increase.

"You can start to implement more high-frequency service, limited-stop service east-west across the city," said Maryland Secretary of Transportation Greg Slater.

Officials said 17,000 people living within a quarter mile of the routes don't have cars.

"They rely on transit to get to work, to get groceries, to visit the doctor," said U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen.

"We know that the longer your commute time, the more likely you are to experience unemployment," said Lewis.

Buttigieg announced the $22 million federal grant to supplement the local project.

"For it to take longer for someone who lives here in Baltimore to get to work or school than it takes to get here from Capitol Hill if you do have a car shows you what needs to change," he said.

Pedestrians and cyclists will also see enhancements in crosswalks, curb extensions, signal upgrades and a mile-and-a-half of a buffered bike lane.

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