WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), today urged Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to honor the state’s original commitment to include a protected lane for bicycle and foot traffic when rebuilding the Gov. Harry W. Nice/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge, which provides an important Potomac River crossing in Charles County.
In a letter sent to Gov. Hogan today, Senator Cardin applauds the state’s planned investment in upgrading this critical aspect of Maryland’s transportation infrastructure. The senator also lauds the foresight of including separate lanes for non-vehicular traffic in the November 2016 announcement of plans for replacing the bridge, and expresses his willingness to work to find additional federal funding to ensure that the final plans for the bridge include lanes for hikers and bikers. But Senator Cardin cautions, “Failure to expend every reasonable effort to deliver this bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as part of a new Harry W. Nice Memorial/Sen. Thomas ‘Mac’ Middleton Bridge would be to pass up a key opportunity to shape our transportation systems of the future.”
“Tourism and recreation are pillars of our economy, and a protected bicycle and pedestrian crossing on this bridge would expand ways for residents and visitors to connect with and explore the scenic and historic values of our state and region,” writes Senator Cardin. “Such a trail would substantially expand the bridge’s benefits for our economy and our transportation networks.”
For decades, Senator Cardin has worked to ensure that Maryland receives the federal funding it needs to implement key infrastructure upgrades. Of particular note, the senator has worked to create, improve and expand the highly successful Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) run by the U.S. Department of Transportation. TAP is predicated on the idea that local governments should exercise authority over dedicated federal transportation funding for local active transportation priorities, including bikeways and sidewalks – infrastructure that reduces traffic congestion, provides children with safe routes to school, and gives communities more affordable transportation options. Under the transportation bill reported this week by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on which Senator Cardin serves as Ranking Member on the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee, funding for TAP would increase to $1.2 billion in FY2021.