August 10, 2021

Cardin Calls Bipartisan Infrastructure Package a “Once-In-A-Generation Opportunity”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee and Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, released the following statement after the Senate passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act 69-30.

“I am proud that the Senate has passed this bill with such a strong bipartisan vote. This major piece of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda will create jobs for Marylanders and make our nation more competitive. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize America’s infrastructure and support working families.

“For Maryland and the nation, we provide essential funding for roads, bridges, and transit, including WMATA, while reopening the door to the Red Line in Baltimore City. We invest in clean water, lead pipe replacement, and record funding for both the Chesapeake Bay Program and the Transportation Alternatives Program that I authored. In addition, for the first time in a major reauthorization of our surface transportation projects, Congress acknowledges the reality of climate change and boosts investments in resiliency and clean vehicle infrastructure. We also expand access to broadband and affordable housing – two necessities in closing equity gaps across communities from coast to coast.

“I am also proud that this bill includes my bipartisan amendment to invest in the Minority Business Development Agency, make it permanent, and give it the stability, leadership, and resources needed to empower minority entrepreneurs.

“We are not finished. The Senate now moves on to a larger infrastructure package that makes our modern economy work better and eases cost burdens for American families. We need all these tools together to meet the challenges facing our country today. I am especially proud that the Build Back Better Budget will invest in our nation’s small businesses and directly address the historic and pervasive barriers that prevent women, minorities, veterans, and entrepreneurs from other underserved communities from starting and growing successful businesses.”

Marylanders will benefit greatly from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, including:

Roads and Bridges

This bill will deliver an estimated $4.5 billion federal investment in Maryland’s roads and bridges. This will allow the State to move forward on a longstanding backlog of projects that have been waiting for funding to move forward, including:

  • Upgrading MD 4 and the Thomas Johnson Bridge between Calvert and St. Mary’s counties
  • Completing deck overlays on 18 bridges along the I-95 corridor in Baltimore County
  • Improving I-81 in western Maryland—a critical freight corridor.
  • Advancing progress on the Appalachian Development Highway System, including Corridor N in western Maryland.

Reconnecting Communities

This bill invests $1 billion to help communities, especially communities of color, that were harmed by past infrastructure projects that cut through and isolated their neighborhoods, blocked their access to transportation networks, and damaged their prospects for development. This new program is an important step for making our transportation policies and infrastructure decisions more equitable and reconnecting communities to opportunities.

  • This investment could support a solution for the Franklin-Mulberry corridor in west Baltimore—the “Highway to Nowhere” that upended neighborhoods and livelihoods in the 1960s with lasting impacts.

Airports

This bill provides $25 billion for our airport infrastructure, including $5 billion for air traffic control infrastructure.

This will support a range of improvements to Maryland’s airport facilities including:

  • New Air Traffic Control tower for Baltimore-Washington International Airport to enable the airport to access the benefits of new technology and safely add new domestic and international gates to accommodate growth and more flights in the future.
  • Runway extension for Salisbury Airport to support the viability of commercial flights that are critical to the regional economy.

Transit

This bill provides $39 billion in new funding for transit and a total of $69 billion for transit over five years. Funding authorized in the bill will support Maryland in various ways, including:

  • $150 million per year through 2030 in authorized for capital improvements to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration (WMATA)—an important federal commitment to our National Capital’s transit system.
  • More than $900 million over five years in transit formula funding for the Baltimore area.
  • Language secured Senators Cardin and Van Hollen to ensure the federal government is a committed partner in moving the Red Line project in Baltimore forward once the State of Maryland, in partnership with Baltimore City, demonstrate their readiness.
  • $8 billion for the Capital Investment Grant program, which is supporting construction of the Purple Line project in Montgomery and Prince George’s County and provided funding for the Red Line before Governor Hogan cancelled the project. It can support projects like Southern Maryland Rapid Transit to better connect Prince George’s and Charles County to Washington, D.C.

Rail

The bill invests $66 billion in our nation’s railroads, including $22 billion for the Northeast Corridor, which includes Maryland’s Amtrak and MARC service. This investment will support key rail projects including:

  • Replacing the Baltimore & Potomac Tunnels, infrastructure dating back to the 1800s and a major bottleneck that slows train travel between Baltimore and Washington.
  • Replacing the Susquehanna Bridge and expanding its capacity.
  • Expanding capacity and improving intermodal transportation connections at Baltimore Penn Station, the important rail gateway to the City and State.
  • Modernization and renovation of Baltimore Penn Station and Washington Union Station.

Transportation Alternatives

Senator Cardin is the lead author of the Transportation Alternatives Program, which supports the transportation priorities of local communities, including pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and safety. This bill provides $7.2 billion over five years for this program.

Maryland has a long list of projects that can take advantage of this program, including:

  • The Baltimore Greenway Trails Network
  • The Capital Trails Network
  • Safe pedestrian and bicycle access to the stations on the Purple Line, the light rail line currently under construction in Montgomery and Prince George’s County.
  • Sidewalk improvements and ADA compliance in Baltimore City
  • 413 hiker/biker trail from Crisfield to Westover in Somerset County

Ports

This bill makes a $17 billion commitment to our port and water infrastructure, critical for jobs, competitiveness, and supply chains. This investment includes $5 billion for Army Corps of Engineers construction projects and $2.25 billion for the Port Infrastructure Development Program. This funding will help ensure stable funding for Maryland’s water infrastructure needs including:

  • Navigation dredging and capacity improvements for the Port of Baltimore, to allow safe, efficient movement of ships and cargo.
  • Beach renourishment for Ocean City, which requires timely funding at regular intervals.

Broadband

The bill invests $65 billion in broadband infrastructure.

  • Maryland will receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to at least 148,000 Marylanders who currently lack it.
  • 1,042,000 or 17% of people in Maryland will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.

Water

The bill includes a $55 billion investment in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure through the EPA State Revolving Loan Funds, including dedicated funding to replace lead service lines and the harmful contaminate PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl).

  • Over the next 20 years, Maryland’s drinking water infrastructure needs alone are estimated at $9.3 billion in additional funding.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates there are nearly 75,000 lead service lines in Maryland.

Resilience

The bill includes $47 billion to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure and support communities’ recovery from disaster.

  • From 2010 to 2020, Maryland experienced 31 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages.
  • The bill provides $238 million over the next five years to the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, which coordinates the state-federal restoration effort.

Investing in Minority Businesses

The bill includes a Cardin amendment to make permanent the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and expand the agency’s capacity to assist the development and resiliency of minority business enterprises (MBEs) and, in particular, rural MBEs. Maryland is has two MBDA centers—the MBDA Business Center in Silver Spring and the MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center in Baltimore—which will benefit from the increased grantmaking and economic development capacity provided by this measure.

 

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