The development of transportation facilities has played a major role in the economic development of Maryland. Baltimore is the chief focus of transportation routes in the state.
The principal highways linking Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., extend across Maryland in a roughly northeast-to-southwest direction. These heavily traveled routes, all of which pass through Baltimore or around it via a belt highway (route 695), include Interstate Highway 95, of which the section northeast of Baltimore is known as the J. F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, and U.S. Highway 1. The Baltimore-Washington Parkway links Baltimore with the national capital.
On the Eastern Shore the chief highways are U.S. highways 50 and 301 and a short section of U.S. Highway 13. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, opened in 1952, spans the bay near Annapolis. The bridge has not only brought the state together but ended the relative isolation of the lower Eastern Shore. Maryland contains 50,372 km (31,300 mi) of highways, including 774 km (481 mi) of the federal interstate highway system.
There are 1,221 km (759 mi) of railroad track in Maryland. The principal lines roughly parallel the state’s chief highways, passing through Baltimore and linking Maryland’s major industrial and urban areas with other cities located along the Eastern Seaboard.
A rapid transit system for the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area was extended into Maryland in 1978. A limited system for the Baltimore area was opened in 1983, and extended with a light rail line in 1992.
Maryland’s largest airport is the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Some 3 smaller airports are situated throughout the state, mostly private airfields. Much of Maryland is also in the service area of Dulles International and Washington National airports in northern Virginia.
Baltimore, one of the chief ports on the Eastern Seaboard, ranks among the leading U.S. ports in terms of the quantity of imported cargo received annually. Much of this volume is made up of raw materials imported for the Baltimore area’s heavy industrial plants. By comparison, the city has a relatively modest export trade and domestic coastal trade. Primarily a bulk cargo port, Baltimore is not a port of call for most passenger lines.
Oceangoing vessels can reach Baltimore by way of the bay. In addition, the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, a toll-free canal stretching 31 km (19 mi) across the Delmarva Peninsula, links Chesapeake Bay with the Delaware River. This route greatly shortens the length of the shipping route from Baltimore to Philadelphia, New York, other U.S. ports farther north, and Europe. Small vessels can navigate some inlets of Chesapeake Bay. The Potomac is navigable by larger vessels as far upstream as Washington, D.C. The port of Baltimore now faces its greatest challenge from the increased competition of Norfolk and Newport News, both in Virginia at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. "Maryland" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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