Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, praised Senate passage of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century surface transportation bill.
“We need to get more Americans back to work. The Senate took a step in the right direction today by voting to reauthorize federal highway and transit programs that will save and create nearly two million jobs a year across the country while maintaining or improving the roads, bridges, railways and transit that all Americans rely on daily. Our nation’s construction sector was hit the hardest, with workers in the construction trades facing double digit unemployment, so I am glad we were finally able to set partisanship aside and get the job done.”
Below are provisions that Senator Cardin championed during the legislative process and were incorporated into the surface transportation bill, helping strengthen the final legislation:
- Troops to Truckers: Helps members of the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans, already trained by the military to drive heavy trucks, acquire a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL);
- State/Local Support for Bike/Pedestrian Paths: Gives local governments assured access to federal transportation funds for alternative transportation projects such as bike paths and greenways;
- BRAC Coordination: Requires the Department of Defense to consult with the Department of Transportation regarding traffic congestion in nearby communities when planning Defense Access Roads;
- Appalachian Highway Development System (ADHS): Ensures that Appalachian local access roads in Western Maryland remain eligible for federal funding; ends the prohibition of states’ use of toll-credits as the matching funds for ADHS projects; increases incentives for states to complete ADHS projects;
- HBCU Research: Extends a provision designed to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities continued participation in the University Transportation Center research program;
- Flexibility for Transit: Ensures greater flexibility for states to use highway funds on transit projects that can demonstrate they will alleviate traffic congestion on highway facilities;
- State-of-Good Repair: Prioritizes resources for maintaining and repairing current National Highway System infrastructure.
- Commuter Options: Restores tax-free transit benefits for commuters to encourage use of alternative options for commuters that help ease congestion and pollution.
“Transportation workers throughout the nation earn fair wages and a decent living while building and maintaining our roads and bridges, the arteries of commerce, and the backbone for our country’s economy. I fought hard to maintain the balance of highway and transit projects, which together promotes and sustains economic growth which in turn creates jobs and supports local business. This bill will help provide the policy and the funding needed to improve the safety and reliability of Metro and allow Maryland to pursue priority projects like improvements to Route 5, advance both the Baltimore Red Line and Purple Line in the Washington suburbs. I will continue to work to fund public transportation initiatives that help our economy through job creation, as well as ease congestion, cut air pollution, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Senator Cardin added.
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that every billion dollars of federal spending on important highway projects creates 27,822 jobs in the construction and supporting industries. Similarly, the American Public Transit Association estimates that for every billion dollars invested in mass transportation infrastructure supports 30,000 jobs.