April 28, 2009

MARYLAND SENATORS, CONGRESSMEN ANNOUNCE RECOVERY ACT FUNDING FOR PORT OF BALTIMORE

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski  and Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Frank Kratovil (all D-Md.) praised the announcement today of $10.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue maintenance dredging of the Port of Baltimore and its shipping channels. 

 

This funding will help clear the maintenance backlog at the Port of Baltimore, save and create jobs in Maryland, and improve Port safety and accessibility. While waiting for the funds to be awarded, Senators Mikulski and Cardin along with Congressman Cummings, Ruppersberger and Kratovil fought tirelessly to keep dredge maintenance from being interrupted at the Port.

 

"The Port of Baltimore is the economic engine that drives our region and it is imperative that we keep the channels and waterways leading to the Port open and free of debris," said Senator Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.  "I strongly support this new funding for the Army Corp of Engineers so that we can ensure the development of a long-term strategy to deal with the tons of dredged material in the most environmentally and economically responsible method."

 

"The Port of Baltimore is a major economic engine for Maryland and America. I am committed to keeping it safe, secure and growing," said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "This funding will have an immediate positive impact, helping to save and create Port jobs and keep commerce moving in Maryland."

 

"We have been fighting relentlessly for the release of these funds, and I was excited to learn of today's announcement," said Congressman Cummings, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. "This new assistance, combined with our efforts to ensure uninterrupted dredging in the Baltimore Corps District this spring, will maximize our use of the remaining placement capacity of Hart-Miller Island and greatly benefit our entire maritime community."

 

"In these trying economic times, it is more important than ever that we keep the Port of Baltimore thriving as one of Maryland's greatest economic engines.  This money will keep commerce moving in Maryland and keep people working so they can provide for their families," said Congressman Ruppersberger, a Member of the House Appropriations Committee and Co-Chair of the House Port Security Caucus.    

 

"The Port of Baltimore's importance to the Maryland economy cannot be overstated.  On my recent visit to the Port I was notified of the urgent financial situation facing the Army Corps projects and I immediately began working with my colleagues in the Maryland delegation and Governor O'Malley to resolve the situation.  I am pleased that we have reached a successful resolution that will allow for the continuation of vital maintenance dredging projects," said Congressman Kratovil, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.  "And I applaud the Corps for their innovative approach to linking the dredging program with ecological restoration projects in the Bay."

 

The Port of Baltimore is a major economic engine for Maryland and America, supporting more than 50,000 jobs in Maryland, including more than 16,000 direct jobs.  It ranks 12th in the nation in total value of foreign cargo handled. It is the largest automobile exporter in the country, the second largest automobile importer, and the 13th largest in total containers moved. The Port's activities support approximately $2 billion in business revenue, $3.6 billion in personal wages and salaries, and $388 million in state, county and municipal taxes annually.