News Article

Cardin talks about funding, projects with local officials
March 1, 2024


By: Ryan Marshall

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin met with Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater and several local officials Friday to discuss opportunities for federal funding in the county.

One of the areas the county would like to use federal money is to build up its infrastructure of bike paths and trails to provide alternatives to get as many vehicles as possible off the county’s roads, Fitzwater, D, told Cardin, D.

Cardin said he is a strong supporter of bike trails and pedestrian paths, and is interested in using funds from the federal infrastructure bill passed several years ago and other sources for projects in Frederick County.

Along with Fitzwater, the meeting included County Council President Brad Young and Council members Renee Knapp, Jerry Donald, and Kavonté Duckett, as well as Frederick Alderman Kelly Russell, all of whom are Democrats.

The county is growing by “leaps and bounds,” which presents challenges and opportunities, Cardin said.

After the meeting, Cardin said he thinks the county’s leadership recognizes the challenges as the county transitions from a more rural jurisdiction to one that is growing.

The county’s connections to Washington and Baltimore are a draw for people who want to live here, but also present challenges such as the price of housing, he said.

He said he has spoken to Gov. Wes Moore, D, several times about the transportation challenges the state faces, including funding for a project to widen U.S. 15 through the city of Frederick.

The project had been funded by the state, but is in danger because of shortfalls in the state’s transportation budget.

Most federal transportation funding goes to the state, which limits the direct help that Congress can provide, Cardin said.

Cardin told Fitzwater and the other officials that he expects that the fiscal 2024 federal budget should be done soon, which will provide information on the fate of several county “earmark” funding requests.

Fitzwater said the county is working closely with municipalities to use tax credits to attract low-income housing projects to diversify the types of housing available in the county.

Affordable housing is an issue where government support has faded over the past 50 years, but is vitally important, Cardin said.

People want to live in Frederick County, but they have to be able to afford to live here, he said.

Cardin’s day in the county started in Brunswick, where he met with Mayor Nathan Brown for a briefing on wastewater projects in the city.

The state’s congressional delegation is working to secure $7.5 million to upgrade the city’s treatment facility, according to a press release from Cardin’s office.

The city has been trying for several years to get funding for repairs to its water treatment plant and wastewater treatment plant to improve their efficiency, including to the wastewater plant’s sludge press that dates to the 1980s and has begun to fail.