WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, today welcomed the committee’s passage of a comprehensive, bipartisan transportation bill that provides approximately $275 billion for transportation infrastructure projects over the next six years. While acknowledging that much work remains in order for the measure to gain its final passage, Senator Cardin pointed to the bill’s overall increased investment in critical infrastructure projects and the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) in particular as positive developments. Senator Cardin has been a leader in the Senate, with Senator Thad Cochran, in ensuring local governments can maintain control of these important resources.
“Our transportation infrastructure provides the backbone for our national, regional and local economies, and state and local governments need to know they can depend on consistent federal investments in order to plan, coordinate and complete critical projects,” said Senator Cardin. “As we face a looming deadline that threatens to disrupt efforts to improve the safety of our transportation system, reduce gridlock and create jobs, both houses of Congress must continue to capitalize on the bipartisan momentum that carried forward today’s proposal.”
Senator Cardin lauded an increase of more than $30 million in overall funding for TAP, which provides grants to localities for on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, as well as non-driver access to public transportation. In addition to the overall funding increase, Senator Cardin strongly applauded the increase from 50 to 100 percent of the decision-making authority for the program to local governments, addressing one of the senator’s long-term priorities.
“Especially in the Baltimore-Washington region, where we face some of the country’s most awful congestion, it is imperative that we increase investments in programs and projects that get people off our roads,” said Senator Cardin. “Even a small reduction in driving can cause a tangible reduction in traffic, especially at peak travel times when congestion is the worst. By increasing our support of TAP, we can help make major improvements of the quality of daily life for residents and commuters, and improved experiences for the visitors so important to our regional economy.”