- The U.S. Department of Transportation has rejected Maryland's application for a $76 million federal FASTLANE grant that would have helped pay for new Interstate 95 exit ramps and created better access to Baltimore's Port Covington development, spearheaded by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, The Baltimore Sun reported.
- This year's available FASTLANE funding was $800 million, not quite a 10th of the $9 billion in funding requests represented by 200 applications. The USDOT whittled down the pool of applications to 18 winners.
- The grant money is earmarked for projects that would help "national shipping, transportation and port efficiencies," and, according to the Baltimore Brew, the new exit ramps would only ease traffic to the Port Covington development rather than the port industry in general.
Also denied was Maryland's request for $155 million to upgrade the outdated Howard Street tunnel.
While there are other state and local funding initiatives set to assist in site development, the FASTLANE denial could lead to the withdrawal of a Baltimore Development Corporation commitment of tax increment financing (TIF), which was contingent on the project also receiving federal and state funding.
U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) suggested that Maryland's funding shutout might be related to Gov. Larry Hogan's cancellation of a $2.9 billion light rail project for which the federal government had already set aside $900 million as part of its approval process.
"I hope," Cummings said in a statement, "that when Governor Hogan walked away from $900 million in federal funding for the Red Line — more than all of this year's FASTLANE grants combined — he didn't do irreparable damage to Maryland's ability to compete for discretionary federal transportation awards in the future."
In January, Under Armour announced its plans to build a 50-acre, 4-million-square-foot campus headquarters at the Port Covington site. Over 20 years, Under Armour expects to build office towers and a manufacturing facility, as well as recreational elements like a field house, basketball court and a 7,000-seat stadium. The company also plans to develop a public park that would provide access to the adjacent Patapsco River. Under Armour's current headquarters, with 1,900 workers, is also in Baltimore, but company officials said that the Port Covington site will be able to accommodate 10,000.