Press Release

May 8, 2024
Cardin, Van Hollen Keep Up Pressure to Ensure 100 Percent Federal Support for Replacing the Francis Scott Key Bridge
Cardin: “This is a disaster of national significance … it is very appropriate that the cost share be waived.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen took to the Senate floor late Tuesday to update their colleagues and the nation on the latest news from Baltimore and the recovery after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. They continued their push to fulfill President Joe Biden’s commitment that the federal government pay the full cost of replacing this essential thoroughfare. Just over one month ago, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 26, the Francis Scott Key Bridge was struck by a container ship that had lost power. Within seconds, the bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River and onto the ship. Since then, first responders and salvage workers have worked day in and day out to recover the six victims and fully clear the channel to the Port of Baltimore. As of yesterday, the body of the last remaining victim was recovered – providing closure to the family of the deceased Marylander. Efforts will now accelerate to remove bridge debris, refloat the Dali, and reopen the 50-foot channel to the Port.

“It is critically important that we replace this bridge as quickly as possible,” Senator Cardin said in his remarks. “We have the Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act that Senator Van Hollen and I have filed. We have also filed it as an amendment to the FAA bill. We are looking for the first opportunity to get this bill to the finish line. And I would urge our colleagues to find a way to get that bill passed as quickly as possible … This is a disaster of national significance.”

“The impact of the bridge collapse continues to reverberate across Baltimore, across Maryland, and in fact, across the country,” Senator Van Hollen said in his remarks.“This is a national tragedy… America has come together, not just in sympathy but to demonstrate support.” He added: “The entire Maryland delegation has been united in introducing legislation that would make good on the Presidents’ commitment for 100 percent funding,” concluding, “I ask – along with Senator Cardin – our colleagues to make sure we move on this legislation as quickly as possible. This is why Senator Cardin and I have offered it as an amendment to the FAA legislation that is in front of this body right now. That’s an expression of the urgency with which we take this challenge.”

Senator Cardin’s floor remarks can be viewed here:

Senator Van Hollen’s floor remarks can be viewed here:

Senators Cardin and Van Hollen continue to work with their colleagues to find the most appropriate and timely vehicle for passage of their legislation, S. 4114, theBaltimore Bridge Response Invests and Delivers Global Economic Relief Act,” or Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act.” Their bill would amend the federal cost-share requirement for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Emergency Relief Program for Disaster-Damaged Highways and Bridges for this project. Emergency Relief funding automatically has a 100 percent federal cost share for the first 270 days after the disaster. Maryland already has received $60 million in Emergency Relief funds.

The Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act reiterates current law that requires any funds recovered from applicable insurance or liable parties will reimburse the taxpayers for the cost of replacing the Francis Scott Key Bridge. There has been ample precedent for the federal government taking on 100 percent of the recovery costs after a major disaster, ranging from the Northridge earthquake in Southern California, the I-35W bridge collapse in Minnesota, and numerous major hurricanes nationwide.