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Marylanders traveling for July 4 holiday to increase

More than 870,000 Marylanders are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the July 4 holiday weekend, the highest figure for the period since at least 2001. The figure is up 2.3 percent over last year, reflecting lower gas prices and an improved jobs market, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. The holiday period is defined as July 1-5.

Some 87 percent of Marylanders traveling over the holiday are expected to do so by automobile. At $2.76 on Thursday, the average price for a gallon of gas in Maryland is at its lowest price in five years, according to AAA. Seven percent will travel by airplane, while 6 percent will do so by bus, train or watercraft.

Meanwhile, Marylanders will also see lower tolls across the state next weekend. Gov. Larry Hogan announced last month he was rolling back multiple tolls starting July 1, including from $6 to $4 for cars traveling over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Nationally, nearly 42 million Americans are expected to travel for the July 4 holiday.

Source: Baltimore Business Journal

Hogan: State will not proceed with Red Line as it's currently designed

The Red Line light rail project in Baltimore will not proceed as it's currently designed, the governor announced Thursday. Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement while revealing plans to spend nearly $2 billion on roads, highways, and bridges throughout Maryland. Hogan said of the $2.64 billion Red Line proposal, "We can do better." The 14.1-mile, east-west light rail would have connected Woodlawn in Baltimore County with downtown Baltimore.

The governor said the state will contribute $168 million to the planned Purple Line rail system in the Washington suburbs instead of nearly $700 million. The governor said Montgomery and Prince George's counties will have to put up more money for the 16-mile light-rail project. The total cost is estimated at $2.45 billion.

Of the nearly $2 billion in transportation funding, the governor said $1.35 billion will be for new projects and about $625 million will be announced for projects that already have been lined up.

The announcement reflects the governor's plans to bring greater focus on roads and bridges.

About $845 million will go toward major projects, such as road widening or traffic management tools. About $500 million will be used to fix bridges and improve roads.

The plan calls for investing in 84 projects in every county, using available state funding that includes:

  • $790 million for 10 projects that support economic development
  • $250 million to repave 1,959 lane miles of highway
  • $355 million to improve safety in 25 locations
  • $25 million to fix drainage and keep roads from flooding in 10 locations
  • $355 million for 13 projects to improve traffic flow
  • $195 million to repair 26 bridges

The $195 million to repair 26 bridges will be combined with $830.7 million in existing state funds to fix the current list of 70 state-owned structurally deficient bridges and maintain existing bridges.

Projects include:

  • MD 404 - Widening MD 404 from two to four lanes with a median from US 50 to the Denton Bypass (Talbot and Caroline counties' top unfunded regional priority);
  • I-270 - Implementing Innovative Congestion Reduction Strategies (Maryland Department of Transportation's pilot project to develop statewide congestion tools);
  • US 113 - Widening US 113 from two to four lanes with a median from Five Mile Branch Road to north of Public Landing Road (Worcester County's No. 1 priority);
  • US 219 - Upgrading US 219 north of I-68 and building a new interchange at I-68 (Garrett County's No. 1 priority);
  • MD 175/MD 295 - Reconstructing the MD 175/MD 295 interchange to improve access to Fort George G. Meade (Anne Arundel County's No. 1 priority);
  • US 50 - Reconfiguring traffic lanes along US 50 eastbound over Severn River Bridge to provide an additional lane to reduce congestion (Anne Arundel County's No. 2 priority);
  • I-95/I-495 - Upgrading the existing partial interchange at the Greenbelt Metro Station to a full interchange to support the proposed FBI headquarters (Prince George's County's No. 1 priority);
  • US 1 - Reconstructing US 1 to a four-lane divided highway with a median and bicycle/pedestrian safety improvements from College Avenue to MD 193 (Prince George's County's No. 2 priority);
  • MD 140 - Widening Northbound MD 140 (Reisterstown Road) to add a third lane from Painters Mill to Garrison View Road (Baltimore County's No. 2 priority);
  • MD 2/4 - Widening MD 2/4 to provide a third through lane and auxiliary lanes in each direction from north of Stoakley Road to south of MD 765A (Calvert County's No. 1 priority);
  • MD 5 - Improving the intersection at MD 5 (Point Lookout Road) and Moakley Street/Abell Street (Breakout project for St. Mary's County No. 2 major highway priority);
  • MD 5 - Improving safety along Point Lookout Road from Camp Brown Road to Ranger Station (St. Mary's County No. 2 minor highway priority); and
  • MD 85/I-270 - Reconstructing the I-270/MD 85 interchange to reduce congestion and upgrade structurally deficient bridges (Frederick County's No. 1 priority).

Source:WBAL

Study: 61 percent of critical infrastructure execs confident systems could detect attack in less than a day

Nearly all critical infrastructure industry executives recognize that their organizations are targets for cybercriminals, and almost half think their systems could detect a cyber attack on a critical system within 24 hours.

It is not that the remaining executives think it could take day or weeks to detect a cyber attack; 61 percent think they could detect it in less than 24 hours. Tripwire surveyed more than 400 executives in the energy, oil, gas and utility industries to publish its “Critical Infrastructure Study.”

Although an overwhelming majority of executives have confidence that their security systems could quickly detect a cyber attack, Rekha Shenoy, vice president of business and corporate development for Tripwire, believes this sureness isn't rooted in reality.

“The idea that these attacks would be detected quickly is basically a perception that's driven from the ability of these organizations to deliver energy with very high availability,” she said in emailed comments to SCMagazine.com. “However, in our experience, these organizations don't have the visibility into cybersecurity issues that would allow them to detect an attack faster than other industries."

This limited visibility could especially prove problematic, considering that 83 percent of respondents said a cyber attack could do “serious physical damage” to their infrastructure.

Shenoy noted that these security systems are relatively new, especially because of recent requirements and mandates that have forced the industry to “embrace cybersecurity intitiatives faster than they would have otherwise.”