Preservation Maryland’s involvement in a complex Section 106 preservation consultation nearly 8 years ago – in addition to staunch advocacy efforts – recently resulted in the establishment of a 2.75M preservation grant fund by Amtrak; the new fund will support community-led preservation and rehabilitation efforts near the rail project site in West Baltimore. The funding was established in an agreement, on which Preservation Maryland was a signatory, to mitigate the loss of historic resources from the replacement of the B&P Tunnel with a new $6 billion Frederick Douglass Tunnel.

According to Amtrak, 

“The Baltimore & Potomac (B&P) Tunnel is the oldest Amtrak tunnel and a single point of failure for the 9 million MARC and Amtrak customers who rely on it. The 1.4-mile tunnel, connecting Baltimore’s Penn Station to Washington and Virginia, suffers from a variety of age-related issues such as excessive water infiltration, a deteriorating structure, and a sinking floor.”

Preservation Maryland President & CEO, Nicholas Redding explained,  

“As the statewide, nonprofit preservation organization – we are proud to advocate for Baltimore’s unique historic resources and are eager to see how these dollars will be put to work investing in and benefitting the communities, organizations, and individuals that will experience the greatest impacts of this project.”

Many other partners and agencies are deserving of recognition for their role in making the fund a reality, including, the U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), The Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP), and Amtrak. 

Currently, Amtrak is soliciting RFPs for organizations interested in serving as the administrator of the fund which is aimed at providing direct assistance to those impacted by the project and the loss of historic fabric in the community. Organizations interested in responding to the RFP can visit Amtrak’s procurement portal where the project is found under non-construction business opportunities. Responses are due by March 18, 2024.