Hogan Administration Takes Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics Maryland

BALTIMORE, MD (JANUARY 28, 2017) –Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) took part in the Maryland State Police Special Olympics Maryland (SOM) 21st Annual Polar Bear Plunge to help raise funds for the organization. The MTA was led by MTA Administrator Paul Comfort as Team BaltimoreLink charged into the cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The team wore BaltimoreLink shirts, winter hats and had BaltimoreLink towels to promote Governor Hogan’s transformative transit plan that will the launch in June. In addition, there was a BaltimoreLink bus on hand to serve
as a warming station and to give information to the public about the plan.

“Special Olympics Maryland is a great opportunity for the MTA to demonstrate our commitment to the communities we serve,” said MTA Administrator and CEO Paul Comfort. “It’s also a fun way to get the word out about Governor Hogan’s BaltimoreLink plan to transform transit in the Baltimore area. I’m proud of all the MTA employees who came out today to support such a worthy cause.”

Members of the MTA Police Force are regular participants in the plunge and participated on Friday as a part of Law Enforcement Plunge, complementing the annual summer “Olympic Torch Run” they hold on behalf of SOM to raise funds for the organization.

 “The success of this event is due to the generosity of thousands of Marylanders and the support of many civic-minded organizations,” said Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel William Pallozzi.  “The support of the Maryland Transit Administration this year is appreciated and is indicative of their constant commitment to serving the people of Maryland.”

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for persons eight years of age and older with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. The group says that the Polar Bear Plunge is the largest of its type in the world, with thousands gathering yearly on the beach at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis to fulfill their pledge to plunge in exchange for donations – or to cheer on those who do.

BaltimoreLink is the multi-phase plan to create an interconnected transit system by redesigning the entire local and express bus systems throughout Baltimore and adds 12 new high-frequency, color-coded bus routes that improve connections to jobs and to MARC Train, Metro Subway and Light Rail. BaltimoreLink transforms Baltimore’s half-a-century-old and outdated transit network with implementation of bus-only dedicated lanes, installation of transit signal priority, construction of a transfer hub network, rebranding and replacement of more than 6,000 transit signs, expanded commuter bus service, new shared bicycle availability, access to car-sharing options and more. New Express BusLink launched its suburb-to-suburb service in June 2016. As promised, expanded and new Commuter Bus service has seen launches in the summer and fall of 2016 with more coming this spring. High-frequency CityLink routes launch in the summer of 2017.

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is one of the largest multi-modal transit systems in the United States. MTA operates Local and Commuter buses, Light Rail, Metro Subway, Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) Train service and a comprehensive Paratransit (Mobility) system. MTA also manages the Call-a-Ride system, and directs funding and statewide assistance to Locally Operated Transit Systems (LOTS) in each of Maryland’s 23 counties, Annapolis, Baltimore City and Ocean City. MDOT is a customer-driven leader that delivers safe, sustainable, intelligent and exceptional transportation solutions in order to connect our customers to life’s opportunities. MTA’s goal is to provide safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service. To learn more, visit mdot.maryland.gov or mta.maryland.gov, check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/mtamaryland and follow us on Twitter @mtamaryland.

Media Contacts: 
Sandy Arnette               Paul Shepard
Office: 410-767-8367    Office: 410-767-3935
Cell: 443-835-7984       Cell: 443-622-4181


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