WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski together with Representatives Elijah E. Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John P. Sarbanes (all D-Md.) today announced $10,000,000 in federal funding for the Southeast Baltimore Port Industry Freight Corridor Plan, making critical transportation infrastructure improvements to the Broening Highway Corridor that will create jobs and enhance the economic security of the Port of Baltimore and surrounding business community. The project is expected to create more than 100 construction jobs and support the over 40,000 jobs related to commerce at the Port of Baltimore.
The $10 million in federal funding was included in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 and is provided through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. Matching funds will be provided through a combination of local and state funds to cover the project’s $27.5 million total cost. Senator Cardin is a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. Senator Mikulski is the Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds DOT. Rep. Cummings is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
“The Port of Baltimore is one of the most powerful economic engines in the region. By 2035, we expect freight deliveries in Maryland to double. In order to enjoy the related economic growth and job creation, it is imperative that we invest in projects to upgrade and expand infrastructure across the America,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “The increased capacity and job creation associated with projects like this one should give Congress yet another reason to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund before it expires at the end of this month.”
“This is a major public investment in the Port of Baltimore and surrounding communities that means construction jobs today and prepares the Port for jobs tomorrow,” Senator Mikulski said. “I fought to put these funds in the federal checkbook that will improve the roads and bridges surrounding the Port, supporting jobs that will keep Maryland’s economy rolling. From the dock workers who unload the ships to the manufacturers who rely on cargo transported by the ships, the Port means jobs.”
“The announcement of this grant award is great news for the thousands of Baltimore residents who drive on this bridge every day,” Congressman Cummings said. “Thanks to this grant, it will not only be easier to get freight to and from our port, nearby residents will get some relief from the congestion caused by freight traffic.”
“There is no question that creating jobs is one of my highest priorities in Congress and this DOT funding will go a long way in helping Baltimore citizens gain meaningful employment at one of the largest economic engines in Maryland, the Port of Baltimore,” Congressman Ruppersberger said.
“This federal grant is a boon for the Port of Baltimore and for our region’s overall economy,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “By making the Southeast Baltimore Port Industry Freight Corridor Plan Project a reality, we’ll create a more robust transportation network of roads and bridges that better connect the Port of Baltimore to regional and national highways.”
“The Port of Baltimore and the economic activity that it creates for Baltimore and our region are critical to our long-term plans to grow the City,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “We cannot afford to let our aging infrastructure interfere with or disrupt that economic engine. Thanks to the efforts of our federal delegation, we will be able to make the necessary investments to keep the Port moving forward.”
The Southeast Baltimore Port Industry Freight Corridor Plan project will replace the structurally deficient Colgate Creek Bridge that currently restricts many freight trucks from using this direct route between the Port and I-95. It will also rehabilitate and modernize existing assets that will facilitate efficient freight movement in and out of Dundalk and Seagirt Marine Terminals. The project will complete the Broening Highway freight corridor by making modifications to accommodate an alternative truck route to I-95. This will improve access in and out of the Port to accommodate increased freight traffic due to the growth of Port activity and surrounding businesses. By cutting down on freight traffic through nearby residential communities, this project will reduce freight movement delays that result in increased costs and environmental impacts as well as disrupting local communities.
The Port of Baltimore is a major economic engine for America and Maryland, supporting more than 40,000 jobs across the state – including 14,630 direct jobs. Among U.S. ports, Baltimore receives the top rank for handling roll on/roll off cargo, trucks, imported forest products, and imported gypsum and sugar. It is also the largest automobile exporter and importer in the country. Each year, the Port moves over 44 million tons of cargo. Demand for freight delivery in Maryland is expected to double by 2035 due to increased traffic from the widened Panama Canal.