Transportation and Infrastructure
Marylanders rely on our roads, transit, bridges, and more every day. For many, it begins with a drive to school in the morning or ends with a commute home from work at night. But infrastructure is also about the water our children drink, the internet our businesses rely on, and the services that keep our communities running. For these reasons, Senator Van Hollen has been a tireless and consistent advocate for strengthening Maryland’s infrastructure. He has worked every year as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include funding for Maryland priorities in the federal budget that serve all of our communities while creating jobs and helping lower costs at home. And when the pandemic hit, Senator Van Hollen rallied support for vital resources to keep Maryland moving and to address immediate infrastructure needs like building out our nation’s broadband and providing devices and internet access to students who needed them.
But for years, Senator Van Hollen has also been pushing for a big, bold new investment to modernize our state’s infrastructure for the 21st century. That push – which included partnership and collaboration with lawmakers and community members – helped result in the passage and enactment of a historic infrastructure modernization law.
The infrastructure modernization law will improve our transit systems, railways, drinking water, roads, bridges, and tunnels. Importantly, it also makes critical investments in building the backbone of a more competitive, modern U.S. economy – including funds to expand broadband to end the digital divide and start building out our clean energy grid and electric charging stations. And this historic law will help harden our state’s infrastructure against the growing impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events that can lead to devastating flooding in our coastal communities on the Eastern Shore and along the Chesapeake Bay. Senator Van Hollen was proud to fight for this legislation and to help negotiate its provisions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
In addition, Senator Van Hollen worked to secure specific elements within this legislation to support Maryland directly. The bill includes provisions he authored to reconnect communities that had been split apart by 1960s federal transportation projects like the Highway to Nowhere in West Baltimore; $238 million in funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program to improve the health of the Bay; a vital reauthorization of the $150 million annual federal contribution for WMATA for another eight years; policies Senator Van Hollen wrote to better protect our frontline transit workers; and his bipartisan amendment to ensure taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects are soundly financed. Crucially, this legislation includes language to keep federal funding for the Baltimore Red Line metro project alive. The infrastructure modernization law also invests $17 billion in our ports nationwide – and that includes the Port of Baltimore, a huge economic driver in our state that delivers goods to our region and, along with them, more growth and opportunity for Marylanders.
In short: this new law will generate more good-paying jobs and strengthen our economy while improving the physical backbone of our country – and it will bring over $7 billion in direct investments straight to Maryland. This achievement marks the most recent chapter in Senator Van Hollen’s long-running mission to improve our infrastructure – and he’s determined to keep on pushing that mission forward.