The U.S. Department of Transportation announced an award of $40 million to the state of Maryland to upgrade its public transportation system. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) will use this money, along with $13 million in state funds to replace the bus yard and buildings at the Kirk Avenue facility. This bus yard is a major hub for the transit administration. It has 351 employees and provides a storage and maintenance site for 175 buses that serves 16 routes, transporting more than a million passengers per week.

This upgrade is long overdue. In 2004, The Johns Hopkins Center for Urban Environmental Health conducted a study in the area, and the results of readings indicated that noise levels in that vicinity exceeded the limit set by Baltimore’s health ordinances. Additionally, air samples indicated that the “two-week average exposure to diesel exhaust and other combustion was slightly above the federal safety threshold for a full year’s exposure”.

This new facility will provide the technology necessary to maintain energy-efficient buses. The building will be more environmentally friendly, cutting operating costs. The project will provide off-street parking, which will enhance the surrounding neighborhoods in terms of reduced traffic congestion and aesthetics. This upgrade stimulates the economy by providing for construction jobs and for positions to help maintain the “green” buses.

This project is part of a $787 million package to repair and modernize the transit infrastructure nationwide. It definitely is a positive step in the direction to live green, be green.