August 24, 2023

Van Hollen, Cardin Announce Key Committee Passage of Over $34 Million for Maryland Infrastructure and Community Development Projects

Van Hollen, Cardin submitted funding requests on behalf of localities and Maryland organizations

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD), and Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and its Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure Issues, (both D-Md.) announced the inclusion of $34,681,000 in key Senate Committee legislation for community-led projects throughout Maryland. These funds, included at the Senators’ request, support a wide array of projects to improve public transit, trail networks, roads, bridges, affordable housing, and community and economic development. The Senators additionally secured funds to support public engagement in the effort to remove the Highway to Nowhere and improve transportation connectivity for the West Baltimore neighborhoods harmed by its construction. The lawmakers have successfully fought to bring federal funds to Baltimore to support the removal of the highway, whose construction more than 50 years ago destroyed homes and businesses and displaced thousands of residents.
These projects are part of the Senate Appropriations THUD Subcommittee’s proposed funding legislation for fiscal year 2024, which was released as part of the annual Congressional Appropriations process and passed on a bipartisan basis by the full Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill will proceed to consideration before the full Senate – funding is not finalized until the Appropriations bills are passed by the full Senate, reconciled with the House of Representatives, and signed into law by the President.
“One of our top priorities is securing federal investments to support vital initiatives in our communities. That’s why, working together, Federal Team Maryland fought for these funds that will help reconnect communities, modernize our infrastructure and link more Marylanders to public transit, affordable housing, job opportunities, and more. This federal funding makes a real impact, and we’re committed to working to get these investments over the finish line,” said Senator Van Hollen. 
“Creating and maintaining livable and functional communities are at the heart of THUD appropriations. It’s critical that we provide federal support for locally driven Maryland projects, both through Congressionally Directed Spending and through competitive grant programs that support our roads, bridges, trails, ports, and transit systems, as well as affordable housing,” said Senator Cardin. “These projects advance many of our top priorities, including new funding for the Franklin-Mulberry Corridor in Baltimore and continued capital funding for WMATA. In the coming weeks I will be urging my colleagues in Congress to enact these investments in final appropriations legislation for FY2024.”
These projects were included in the Senate Appropriations THUD FY2024 funding legislation.
Project Name: Baltimore Franklin-Mulberry Corridor - Reconnecting Communities
Applicant: Baltimore City
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $500,000
Description: Funds will be used to support public engagement and outreach to develop community-led plans to enhance transportation connectivity and access for the neighborhoods in West Baltimore impacted by the Highway to Nowhere.
Project Name: Benedictine Residential Facility
Applicant: Benedictine School for Exceptional Children
Project Location: Caroline County
Amount Included: $1,800,000
Description: The Benedictine School is a multi-functional, year-round education and residential center serving more than 150 children and adults with severe intellectual disabilities. Funds will renovate the outdated living areas and health facilities to better suit the needs of students and their families.
Project Name: BRIDGES Community Family Life Center and Food Pantry
Applicant: BRIDGES Community Development Corporation
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $990,000
Description: Funds will support construction of a facility in the Pimlico/Arlington/Hilltop neighborhood with a commercial kitchen and food pantry, afterschool tutoring, and job training to serve local families.
Project Name: Cambridge Neighborhood - Camper Street
Applicant: Habitat for Humanity Choptank
Project Location: Dorchester County
Amount Included: $450,000
Description: Funds will be used to prepare sites in Ward 3 of Cambridge for the construction of safe, affordable, and energy efficient homes to help low-income families achieve sustainable homeownership.
Project Name: Greater Baltimore Urban League / Orchard Street Church
Applicant: Greater Baltimore Urban League, Inc.
Amount Included: $3,500,000
Description: Funds will be used to restore the Historic Orchard Street Church, the city's oldest standing structure, as a headquarters and outreach center for the Greater Baltimore Urban League. It will also house a new community clinic in collaboration with Morgan State University's new medical school.
Project Name: Harmer's Town Art Center
Applicant: Harmer's Town Art Center, Inc.
Project Location: Harford County
Amount Included: $3,351,000
Description: Funds will support the rehabilitation of a vacant commercial building to serve as a regional art facility, creativity incubator, and economic driver in Havre de Grace. The building will include low-cost artist studio space and makerspaces and will draw visitors with galleries, classes, and shops.
Project Name: Historic Druid Hill Y Family Center Renovation
Applicant: YMCA of Central Maryland, Inc.
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $1,238,000
Description: The Y in Druid Hill, built in 1916, provides critical services to the community. Funds will be used to replace the roof, renovate transitional housing and locker rooms, and upgrade the pool area, while protecting the historic structure and ensuring the sustainability of a key community resource.
Project Name: Last Mile Park
Applicant: American Communities Trust, Inc.
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $904,000 (will support one underpass)
Description: Funds will support the development of a park looping around a series of Amtrak overpasses that will provide a safe and inviting connection between the new Eager Park development near Johns Hopkins and the underserved community north of the tracks, bringing economic benefit to both communities.
Applicant: Mace's Lane Community Center, Inc.
Project Name: Mace's Lane Community Center
Project Location: Dorchester County
Amount Included: $1,000,000
Description: Funds will be used for the final phase of the renovation of the historic Mace's Lane School into a museum and community center that will house a Boys & Girls Club, youth sports, education and cultural programs, community meeting space, and senior services.
Project Name: NAACP Baltimore Headquarters Proposal
Applicant: Baltimore NAACP
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $500,000
Description: Funds will be used to upgrade and expand the Baltimore NAACP headquarters so it can increase its services, including fresh produce distribution, free and reduced-cost office space for small women- and minority-owned businesses, and youth programs.
Project Name: North Bethesda Metro Station Northern Entrance
Applicant: Montgomery County
Project Location: Montgomery County
Amount Included: $5,000,000
Description: Funds will support planning and preliminary engineering for a new north entrance to the North Bethesda Metro Station. The new entrance will serve existing and planned transit-oriented development in the Pike District and improve access for residents and commuters.
Project Name: Open Works Baltimore – West Side Expansion
Applicant: Open Works, Inc.
Project Location: Baltimore City
Amount Included: $2,000,000
Description: Funds will be used to open an Open Works makerspace in West Baltimore that will provide high-tech tools, industrial co-working space, technical education programs for all ages, workforce development training, entrepreneurship support, and contract manufacturing for startups and community projects.
Project Name: Patapsco Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge - Phase 1
Applicant: State of Maryland
Project Location: Baltimore City and Baltimore County
Amount Included: $5,000,000
Description: Funds will be used to construct a bicycle and pedestrian bridge connecting the Patapsco Avenue Light Rail Station and Bus Hub with the north side of Patapsco Avenue, improving connectivity to the Cherry Hill neighborhood for residents and commuters.
Project Name: Phase 2 Bunkhouse Renovation
Applicant: The Pearlstone Center
Project Location: Baltimore County
Amount Included: $1,558,000
Description: The Pearlstone Center is an outdoor education center that includes an organic farm and gardens and hosts students and workforce development training for green jobs. Fund will renovate bunkhouses and build a new bathhouse to support an overnight summer camp for low-income children.
Project Name: Popes Creek Waterfront Phase II
Applicant: Charles County Government
Project Location: Charles County
Amount Included: $200,000
Description: Funds will support the Popes Creek Waterfront and Rail Trail, an accessible water access point with a boardwalk and pier that connects to a trail through an abandoned rail corridor. This will be the county's first project to provide direct water access for recreation and fishing to all residents.
Project Name: Reconnecting West Frederick Planning Project
Applicant: City of Frederick
Project Location: Frederick County
Amount Included: $380,000
Description: Funds will be used to create preliminary plans for the reconfiguration of the West Patrick Street/US 15 Interchange, in order to improve equitable access to downtown for disadvantaged communities. The city aims to connect these communities so residents can safely access amenities and services.
Project Name: Road to Freedom Trail
Applicant: Northeast Towson Improvement Association, Inc.
Project Location: Baltimore County
Amount Included: $500,000
Description: Funds will be used for planning, design, and engineering for the Road to Freedom Trail, a cycling and pedestrian trail connecting 13 sites of historical significance from the Hampton National Historic Site to the Carver Community Center, increasing access for residents and visitors.
Project Name: Rural Community Revitalization through Affordable Housing
Applicant: Kent Attainable Housing, Inc.
Project Location: Kent County
Amount Included: $810,000
Description: Funds will support the construction of affordable homes for families in Chestertown and Butlertown. In addition to constructing housing units for first-time homebuyers, the program provides financial literacy and support services to help residents budget and establish good credit.
Project Name: Southern Maryland Rapid Transit (SMRT)
Applicant: Charles County Government
Project Location: Charles County
Amount Included: $5,000,000
Description: Funds will support a high-capacity transit service to alleviate one of the most congested commutes in the country, ignite job growth in target development areas in Southern Maryland, and reduce emissions.
Additional priorities secured by the Senators in the FY24 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies funding bill include:
Key Points & Highlights – Transportation
Department of Transportation: The bill provides $28.433 billion in funding for the Department of Transportation—which includes significant new resources to ensure the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is able to maintain the safest, most efficient, and most complex air traffic control system in the world, the safety of our rail network, and capital investments to improve the state of good repair for our transit systems.
RAISE Grants: The bill maintains critical funding for the RAISE Grant program to continue investing in transportation infrastructure projects that have a significant local or regional impact. 
FAA Staffing and Modernization: The bill provides $20.279 billion for the FAA, an increase of $1.255 billion over fiscal year 2023. This includes:

  • $12.741 billion for FAA operations, which will allow the FAA to continue its air traffic controller hiring surge by adding 1,800 new controllers, improve the condition and reliability of critical IT and telecommunications legacy systems, such as the NOTAM system, continue to improve aircraft certification as required by the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act, and accelerate the deployment of new entrants into the national airspace.
  • A historic $3.429 billion for FAA facilities and equipment which will accelerate NextGen modernization. This includes $65.2 million for the critical Terminal Flight Data Manager and $69.95 million for DataComm programs, which will improve the efficiency of air traffic control and lead to fewer flight delays. The bill also includes $33.2 million for airport ground surveillance, $340.8 million for telecommunications infrastructure, and $29.35 million for long-term improvements to the critical NOTAM system.
  • $3.851 billion for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants, including $501 million for supplemental AIP grants that can help reduce emissions at airports, build airport infrastructure necessary to support unleaded fuels and sustainable aviation fuels, build resiliency at airports confronting climate change and worsening natural disasters, and support aircraft noise compatibility planning and programs. 

Highways and Bridges: The bill provides $60.096 billion for Federal-aid Highways, consistent with the IIJA-authorized level of spending from the Highway Trust Fund, with an additional $2.047 billion for Highway Infrastructure Programs. This includes $45 million for the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program, $150 million for PROTECT Grants, $1.145 billion for bridges, $100 million for the Appalachian Development Highway System, $20 million for Scenic Byways, and other critical programs.

Rail Safety: A total of $3.4 billion is provided for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). This includes $2.45 billion for Amtrak to sustain operations, maintain a state of good repair, and safely get passengers to their destinations. 

To address the rail safety deficiencies identified in the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment, the bill provides a $32 million increase for FRA’s safety and operations budget—meeting the budget request level for rail safety inspectors and research. 

The bill also directs specific research requirements for: (1) wayside detection technology, operational alert thresholds, and rail carrier response protocols to inform and verify the technologies capabilities and establish industry-wide standards; and (2) long-train operational safety to evaluate equipment safety standards for brake systems and wheel performance to inform the development of continuous component monitoring. 

The bill also increases funding for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) emergency preparedness grants to $46.825 million and requires the agency to conduct research to improve the survivability of placards identifying hazardous materials on trains.

WMATA Safety: The bill provides $150 million in capital and safety improvement funding for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which manages the DMV-area Metro and bus system. It directs WMATA to establish and build a culture of safety throughout the organization, including a culture that fosters rigorous adherence to safety rules and procedures as a matter of routine.

Transit Infrastructure: The bill provides $16.865 billion for the Federal Transit Administration—including $2.45 billion for Capital Investment Grants, a $240 million increase over fiscal year 2023, to continue investing in America’s transit infrastructure. It also includes $365.8 in budget authority—$184 million above fiscal year 2023—for Transit Investment Grants. This includes $161.8 million for Buses and Bus Facilities, $50 million for the Low- and No-emissions program; $45 million for areas of persistent poverty; and $43 million for urban and rural ferry programs.

Maritime Administration: The bill provides $1.2 billion for the Maritime Administration, $308 million above fiscal year 2023. This includes:

  • $195.5 million for the United States Merchant Marine Academy, of which $70 million is for capital improvement projects, fully meeting the President’s budget request to train the next generation of mariners;
  • $131 million for State Maritime Academies, of which $91.8 million is for the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel program;
  • $103 million for the Title XI program to fund new loan guarantee applications in the pipeline;
  • $213 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program; and
  • $448 million to fund the Defense vessel programs at their authorized levels, including:
  • $318 million for the Maritime Security Program;
  • $10 million for the Cable Security Fleet program; and
  • $120 million for the Tanker Security Fleet program.

Expands Access to Transportation Infrastructure for Rural Communities and Tribes: The bill includes flexibilities in the federal share for certain transit projects and provides $25 million to supplement the Rural and Tribal Infrastructure Advancement Pilot Program to deliver financial, legal, technical, and project development assistance in an effort to improve Tribal access to transportation infrastructure programs at the Department of Transportation.

Key Points & Highlights – Housing and Urban Development

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): The bill provides $70.06 billion in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development–to maintain all existing rental assistance while increasing efforts to reduce homelessness, connect people to both housing and health care, and remove barriers to housing opportunities and development, including unnecessary administrative burdens.

Reduces Homelessness and Improves Connections to Health Care: The bill provides $3.9 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, a $275 million increase above the fiscal year 2023 enacted level. In addition to sustaining investments for existing projects, homeless youth, and survivors of domestic violence, the bill provides:

  • $100 million for permanent supportive housing, a $25 million increase over fiscal year 2023;
  • $31 million for capacity-building grants and direct technical assistance to communities that are leveraging other funds, like Medicaid, to connect individuals experiencing homelessness to housing-related services and behavioral healthcare; and
  • $25 million for an inflationary adjustment for supportive service projects so that providers can hire and retain qualified personnel.

Lastly, the bill allows HUD to complete funds on a biennial basis, which will free up valuable staff time and resources to focus on service delivery rather than paperwork.

Increases the Supply of Affordable Housing: As communities across the nation continue to face a shortage of affordable homes, the bill makes critical investments to increase the supply of housing so that Americans can keep a roof over their head. The bill includes:

  • $1.5 billion to sustain robust funding for the HOME Investment Partnership Program, the primary federal tool of state and local governments that produces affordable rental and owner-occupied housing. This level will lead to the construction of nearly 10,000 new rental and homebuyer units. The House bill slashes funding for this program down to $500 million, the lowest funding level since the program’s inception three decades ago.
  • $100 million for the second year of the “Yes In My Back Yard” grant program—a $15 million increase over fiscal year 2023. A significant contributor to the lack of housing supply and production is state and local zoning and land use laws and regulations that limit the number of units that can be built. These restrictions on development are driving up housing costs. While some communities have made progress in removing barriers to affordable housing production to keep up with market demand, the federal government should play a supporting role to strengthen these efforts and help jurisdictions increase their housing stock and lower housing costs.
  • $4.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant formula program and Economic Development Initiatives that address a variety of local community development and affordable housing needs.

Preserves and Strengthens Investments in Rental Assistance Programs: The bill maintains critical support for HUD rental assistance programs, which assist nearly 5 million vulnerable households—more than half of whom are elderly or people with disabilities. This includes:

  • $31.7 billion for tenant-based Section 8 vouchers, a $1.5 billion increase above fiscal year 2023, which includes funding to make 4,000 new incremental vouchers available to youth aging out of foster care and veterans at risk of or experiencing homelessness. 
  • $15.79 billion for the project-based rental assistance program to renew housing contracts, of which $32.9 million is for rent adjustments to certain properties with health, safety, or operational deficiencies to improve property conditions for tenants.
  • $8.9 billion to operate and address the capital needs of public housing, a $361 million increase above fiscal year 2023.

Increases Alignment and Flexibilities for Affordable Housing Programs: The thicket of statutory, regulatory, and procedural requirements for federal housing programs can undermine program results, lead to wasteful duplication, and require excessive time and resources from grantees. 

To reduce the number of duplicative property inspections that occur when a project is funded by multiple federal housing programs, the bill supports efforts to improve inspection standards while also ensuring coordination across federal housing programs. 

To more effectively use available housing choice vouchers in difficult rental markets, the bill authorizes a new pilot to allow up to 8 public housing authorities to use housing assistance payments for leasing-related expenses, like security and utility deposits. 

To improve the speed and effectiveness of vouchers serving youth aging out of foster care, the bill streamlines the award process and authorizes the Secretary to waive certain requirements that are consistent obstacles to successful leasing.