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City of Laurel Considers Joining Regional Transportation Effort

The Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland has just formed.

Laurel is in discussions with Anne Arundel and Howard counties, according to a statement from Howard County.
Laurel is in discussions with Anne Arundel and Howard counties, according to a statement from Howard County.
Howard and Anne Arundel County leaders are working to simplify regional transportation and will mark their newfound partnership with a groundbreaking Friday in Annapolis Junction.

At 8800 Corridor Road, where the groundbreaking will take place, the counties plan to erect a Regional Transit Facility, which will house vehicles owned by members of their newly formed agency.

Called the Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland (RTA), the agency will manage all existing transit services in member jurisdictions, according to a statement from Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

So far, Anne Arundel and Howard counties are the only members, after they signed an agreement last week that becomes effective July 1, 2014, the statement said.

Several other jurisdictions, including the city of Laurel, are in discussions about partnering, according to the statement, which said Annapolis recently adopted a resolution supporting a regional approach to transit. 

Member jurisdictions in the RTA are expected to save 17 percent operationally through reductions in administrative costs and duplication, and by streamlining budgeting, accounting and other tasks, officials said.

Howard County projected a savings of $1.24 million annually, which it will use to fund additional transit services, including route improvements, according to Ulman.

"We are taking a huge step forward for innovation and efficiency, and the customers of our transit services will directly benefit," Ulman said. 

The Anne Arundel County Transportation Commissiondetermined it would save more than $500,000 each year, according to the statement.

"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," Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman said in the statement.

A commission with representation from all member jurisdictions will oversee the RTA, according to the statement.

An official groundbreaking for the Regional Transit Facility at 8800 Corridor Road in Annapolis Junction is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 28. 

Once construction is complete by mid-November 2014, vehicles will be kept there for service and maintenance, according to a statement from Howard County.

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