Gov. Larry Hogan has announced a $5 million study to explore a potential new Chesapeake Bay crossing.
Hogan said Tuesday the Maryland Transportation Authority Board voted last week for the Tier 1 National Environmental Policy Act study.
The study will begin this fall and take up to four years to finish. It will identify the location of a crossing and possible funding options.
"I won't be the governor when this bridge is finished, but I'll be the one when it gets started," Hogan said. "You're never going to get it done unless you start. This is just the first step in the process."
Hogan said the study is needed, because there is too much traffic that will only get worse on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which is the only bridge over the nation's largest estuary that connects the state's eastern and western shores.
The Tier 1 study will pursue environmental regulatory agency concurrence and agreement from the Eastern Shore counties on one crossing location. The study will include traffic, engineering, and environmental analyses; cost-per-mile estimates; preliminary financing and procurement options; and an economic and land-use study.
"The Bay Bridge can be maintained safely through 2065 with preservation and maintenance work. However, studies show that by 2040, motorists could experience up to 14-mile delays," said Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn. "This is the first step in a long process to address the demand for additional capacity across the Chesapeake Bay."
The study is expected to take two years.
Hogan also announced a new license plate design for Maryland. The new design, which he said he had a hand in the look, features a white background with black lettering and a stylized Maryland flag along the bottom.
The new plates will be available in September. They will replace the War of 1812 design currently being issued.