BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Long-awaited federal funding could jumpstart the Howard Street Tunnel expansion, building business through the Port of Baltimore.

Lawmakers said Tuesday that the tunnel expansion could double the number of containers coming through the Port of Baltimore, and now, they have the funding to start construction.

“There is literally a light at the end of the tunnel,” Senator Ben Cardin said. “Great news for our region. Great news for Maryland.”

Construction may finally begin on the long-awaited Howard Street Tunnel expansion- expected to boost business at the Port of Baltimore and pump half a billion dollars into the State.

“This is another major chapter in the Port of Baltimore and it’s competitiveness,” Cardin said. “This is a gamechanger for our region.”

Maryland lawmakers announced Tuesday $125 million in federal funds- jumpstarting a project that was on the brink of collapse one year ago.

The State and CSX asked for the federal government to cover nearly half the cost of expansion, saying that they would split the bill for the rest- with the railroad pledging to chip in $91 million. Then, CSX backed out.

Lawmakers said the project will bring 6,500 hundred construction jobs to the area and 7,200 permanent jobs.

The expansion will allow freight trains to carry shipping containers stacked two-high- eliminating a major bottleneck to the Port of Baltimore’s business.

Even with CSX and federal money, funding still falls $1 million short of the original proposal. It is still unclear where that difference will come from.

Kimberly Eiten

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