U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Letters From Ben

August 19, 2023

Federal Investment Local Impact

Dear Fellow Marylanders,

It’s been quite the week. On Friday, I spent the day in Ocean City at the summer meeting of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo). It’s a gathering I look forward to each year, one that brings together over 3,000 local officials from around our great state who make things happen for our local communities.

One of the highlights of MACo for me is my town hall. It’s my chance to share what Congress has been up to in Washington and how I am working with my fellow Team Maryland members to bring resources home.

The timing was great this year as we marked the first anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, the single largest investment in climate and infrastructure in modern history. I also had a chance to talk about the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, the CHIP & Science Act, and we can’t forget about the American Recue Plan, which put $1,400 directly in Americans’ bank accounts during COVID. It’s been a productive two years at the U.S. Capitol.

As I shared with our local, county and state officials, this legislative record represents the Biden-Harris administration’s direct support for jobs, infrastructure, the environment, education and more. It’s the exact opposite of trickle-down economics; it’s a tidal wave of investment directly in communities. Simply put, it’s an investment in the American people.

For Maryland, the American Rescue Plan provided over $12 billion to support our residents through the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has provided $3.4 billion in funding to Maryland, with nearly 100 specific projects identified for funding.  The Inflation Reduction Act will bring an estimated $6.5 billion of investment in clean power to Maryland over the next decade.

How do these legislative packages help Marylanders pay their bills? Each of these represents a series of smart investment that contribute to record unemployment and slowing the rate of inflation. Like many investments, mitigate extra expenses for our state and local communities and reduce costs, which will pay dividends today and well into the future.

Let’s start with this generation’s most expensive existential threat: climate change. 

Maryland’s coastal location make it one of the most vulnerable states to suffer the impacts of sea-level rise. That’s bad news for the communities along Maryland’s 3,200-mile coastline. Flooding costs Americans nearly $5 billion dollars per event and could cost even more in the future as flood insurance rates climb. The Inflation Reduction Act invests $2.6 billion to help coastal communities prepare for the future and weather storms that are growing stronger every year. Homeowners aren’t the only ones who need help adapting to a changing climate.

Far too often schools are forced to close or send students home because of old, unreliable HVAC systems. Maryland is home to some of the oldest schools in the nation and their existing HVAC systems are not equipped to adjust to extreme temperatures. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided $500 million in grants to help schools upgrade their HVAC systems and make energy efficient improvements. We prioritize investments in education because it is an investment in our future. A strong workforce and a thriving economy start with great schools.

It’s not just our schools. All of our infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the demands of 21st century challenges. Aging roads and bridges, overcrowded airports, and limited access to broadband are costing Marylanders. Through federal funding we’ve provided historic investments in Maryland’s infrastructure like roads, airports, broadband, trails to connect neighborhoods and more.

Improved roads means fewer potholes and fewer trips to the mechanic. Better transit means fewer polluting cars on the road and less congestion overall. More trails and green space mean better overall health. Reliable internet provides students with better opportunities for learning and a stronger foundation for our businesses – large and small.

New infrastructure projects provide good-paying jobs. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the CHIPS and Science Act helped fund improvements to Baltimore’s Douglass Tunnel that will create up to 30,000 jobs with workers benefitting from a project-labor agreement with local building trades unions. This funding also helped launch a new workforce hub in Baltimore to train workers and build out our region’s skilled workforce.

These investments are creating both new jobs and more entrepreneurs. Under the Biden-Harris administration, we’ve experienced a small business boom led by women, and in particular, women of color. I’m inspired by all of the entrepreneurs I’ve gotten to meet personally. Just this week, I was in Berlin, Md., for a small business tour and field hearing. I met Lizzie Ottenstein, owner of Love Your Mama. Lizzie started her store right before the pandemic. Coupled with a death in the family, she put everything she had into not only keeping her small business afloat but also giving back to the community along the way. Today, Love Your Mama is a beautiful shop that offers community compost workshops, yoga, and other services, all the while selling products that are kind to the environment and promote a better relationship between consumption and the planet. 

Recently, Team Maryland delivered $6 million in federal funding for underserved small businesses and minority entrepreneurs like Lizzie who help keep our local towns vibrant. Because of our federal investments in people and locally driven projects, Maryland continues to be a state with a high return on investment. We get back more from the federal government than what we put in.

As I said to our local officials at MACo yesterday, under the Biden-Harris administration, Team Maryland and Congress have achieved more than anyone anticipated, and we will continue to work to pass legislation that invests in Marylanders and strengthens our communities. Checks are on their way to our local communities, nonprofits and others statewide. The positive consequences of our ongoing federal investment will extend far beyond this generation.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts on this or any other topic.


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Ben Cardin