April 11, 2024

Team Maryland Introduces Legislation to Ensure 100 Percent Federal Support for Replacing the Francis Scott Key Bridge

Following precedent for national disasters and tragedies, the Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act would remove the 10 percent cost-share requirement for federal funds

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, joined with Congressmen Kweisi Mfume, Andy Harris, Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Jamie Raskin, David Trone and Glenn Ivey on Thursday to introduce bicameral, bipartisan legislation that would allow the federal government to fully fund the replacement of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and its approaches. Governor Wes Moore, who joined the full Maryland delegation at the Capitol earlier this week for a meeting with Biden-Harris administration officials, praised the bill for fulfilling President Joe Biden’s commitment to have the federal government fully support rebuilding the bridge after the March 26 fatal collapse.

Introduced Thursday in both the Senate and the House, S. 4114, the “Baltimore Bridge Response Invests and Delivers Global Economic Relief Act,” or Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act,” would amend the federal cost-share requirement for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Emergency Relief Program for Disaster-Damaged Highways and Bridges. Funds are available for responding to damage caused by the cargo ship Dali to the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act would ensure the federal government supports 100 percent of the replacement of this critical bridge and its approaches in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County. 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 impact of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has been felt deeply – across Baltimore, our state, and our nation. But during times of tragedy, we come together. As we continue to mourn the lives lost in Baltimore, we are committed to doing everything we can to support our City, our state, and our workers. That’s why federal Team Maryland is putting forward this bipartisan legislation to ensure the federal government covers the full cost of rebuilding the bridge as safely and quickly as possible – and that federal taxpayers benefit from any monies recovered from those found responsible. As we have in the wake of disaster many times before, it’s time to put politics aside and get this done,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The sudden collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge was a human tragedy and an economic tragedy – for Maryland and the nation. As we continue to mourn the loss of life and this icon of our skyline, we can simultaneously begin work to heal the wounds created by this disaster. A new bridge can be a symbol of hope and resilience,” said Senator Cardin. “The federal government is an essential partner in this gargantuan task of reopening the Port of Baltimore shipping channel and replacing the bridge with one built for modern-day commerce and travel needs.”   

“When the Key Bridge collapsed, it didn’t just affect Maryland – it affected the entire country. We must continue to come together, across party lines and all levels of government, to reopen the Port of Baltimore and rebuild the bridge as fast as possible,” said Governor Moore. “I’m grateful for the leadership of our congressional delegation and our federal allies in this hour of national importance. We can – and we will – win this moment, together.”

“Since the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, the Maryland Congressional Delegation has acted with unity, collectedness, precision, and promise. Today, we have made good on our commitment to America and our State by introducing companion legislation in both the House and Senate to build back the Bridge and build it better. A disaster of this scale requires nothing less than the full and total cooperation of all parties involved,” said Congressman Mfume.

“Following the sudden collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge, my message has been clear—we must focus our efforts on recovering the victims, bringing closure to those who lost loved ones, and ensuring that the American taxpayer is not held responsible for costs that any negligent, foreign owned shipping company should pay,” said Congressman Harris. “This legislation is a step in the right direction and will provide Maryland with the resources necessary to reopen the channel, rebuild the bridge, and hold any party responsible for reimbursing the federal government if found negligent.”

“Reopening the Port of Baltimore and rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge as fast as possible is in the interest of every American.” Congressman Hoyer said. “That’s why it is crucial that we pass this legislation to authorize the federal government to cover the full cost of this project, in accordance with the commitment that the Biden-Harris Administration made immediately after the collapse. This bill is an essential first step in the rebuilding process. To vote against this legislation is to vote against the success of the American economy and the American people.”

“Rebuilding the Key Bridge – quickly, safely and stronger – is essential to restoring jobs, protecting the supply chain and keeping inflation down. It’s also necessary to ensure no other families will ever have to endure the heartache of those of the six workers who died performing a community service and who deserve our respect and gratitude,” said Congressman Ruppersberger. “We call on all of our colleagues to come together to support this legislation to help bring the Port of Baltimore back online and working for the American economy.”

“Since the sudden and tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Team Maryland has been united in our commitment to supporting the families of victims, rebuilding the bridge and resuming full Port of Baltimore operations,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “The introduction of this bipartisan legislation is proof of our determination to ensure every federal resource at our disposal is deployed to recover from this tragedy. We will keep working in lockstep with President Biden, Governor Moore and other key partners until this vital thoroughfare and iconic symbol of the Baltimore skyline is rebuilt.”

“While we continue to mourn and recover from this tragedy, I strongly urge my Congressional colleagues to rise to the challenges ahead and help fund this effort because this isn’t a Maryland problem, it’s an American one. This legislation delivers the message that this critical infrastructure deserves our full support,” said Congressman Trone. “As a Member of Congress, but most importantly, as a Marylander, I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to provide Baltimore and our state the resources we need to recover, rebuild, and move forward – together.”

“Tragic disasters like the destruction of the Key Bridge in Baltimore should not be a blue concern or a red concern but an American concern. Compassion and forethought must be the watchwords of the current situation. We mourn the loss of life and abhor the loss of economic liberty which the bridge collapse has wrought on Marylanders and our fellow Americans. As a federal partner, the Congress must come together to fund the reopening of the Port of Baltimore, and ultimately the rebuilding of a new bridge to help not only Maryland’s economy but also the entire country’s supply chain,” said Congressman Ivey.

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.

The full text of S. 4114, the Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act, follows and can be found at this link.

Title: To authorize a higher federal share for emergency relief funds for the reconstruction of the Francis Scott Key Bridge located in Baltimore and Baltimore County, Maryland, that collapsed on March 26, 2024, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the “Baltimore Bridge Response Invests and Delivers Global Economic Relief Act” or “Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act.”


Congress finds that, in accordance with section 668.105(e) of title 23, Code of Federal Regulations (or a successor regulation), any compensation for damages or insurance proceeds, including interest, recovered by a State, a political subdivision of a State, or a toll authority for repair, including reconstruction, of the bridge described in section 2 in response to the damage described in that section shall be used on receipt to reduce liability on the repair, including reconstruction, of that bridge from the emergency fund authorized under section 125 of title 23, United States Code.


Notwithstanding subsection (e) of section 120 of title 23, United States Code, the Federal share for emergency relief funds made available under section 125 of that title to respond to damage caused by the cargo ship Dali to the Francis Scott Key Bridge located in Baltimore City and Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties, Maryland, including reconstruction of that bridge and its approaches, shall be 100 percent.


This Act shall take effect as if enacted on March 26, 2024.


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. The bipartisan congressional delegation met Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol with officials from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and additional representatives of the Biden-Harris administration to emphasize the need for continued, coordinated local, state and federal response, and to examine options for the best path forward to fully reopen the Port of Baltimore and rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge as quickly and safely as possible.