May 24, 2022

Van Hollen, Cardin, Hoyer, Calvert and St. Mary’s County Officials Laud Over $400 Million in Federal Infrastructure Funding to Fix Aging Bridges Across Maryland

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (all D-Md.) lauded more than $400 million in federal funding coming to Maryland over the next five years to repair and replace deteriorating bridges across the state and create good paying jobs. There are currently 273 bridges in Maryland that have been rated poor or structurally deficient, including the Thomas Johnson Bridge, which Senator Cardin and Congressman Hoyer visited yesterday. The lawmakers also worked to secure $1 million in direct funding in the fiscal year 2022 funding bill to support the project design for the widening of MD 4 and Thomas Johnson Bridge replacement. 

Maryland will receive $409,507,880 over the next five years that can be used for projects like the Thomas Johnson bridge replacement. For this year, Maryland has received $81,901,576, with $12,285,236 set aside for bridges not part of the federal highway system, including those owned by counties, cities, towns, or other local agencies. This historic federal funding is one of the single largest investments ever made to repair and reconstruct the state’s bridges, including city and county-owned bridges. The Congressional lawmakers fought to deliver these funds through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that they helped enact in November 2021. 

“Marylanders count on our bridges every day to get safely where they need to go, but hundreds of bridges in our state, including the Thomas Johnson, are in need of serious fixes,” said Senator Van Hollen. “That’s why I fought to secure $1 million in direct funding for the Thomas Johnson bridge replacement project this year, and why together we worked to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which will make long overdue investments in strengthening our bridges all over the state. These resources will put people to work in good paying jobs, make travel across Maryland safer, and boost our state’s economy.”

“The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a once in a generation opportunity to modernize and transform Maryland’s infrastructure. Maryland has led the nation in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, getting more jobs and more responsibility under BRAC, but in order sustain this progress we must ensure that our infrastructure is up to the task. Team Maryland will continue to be a strong federal partner with the state of Maryland and local governments to make sure that we have reliable transportation networks across the state,” said Senator Cardin. 

“Residents across Southern Maryland are rightly concerned about the condition and the functionality of the Thomas Johnson Bridge,” said Congressman Hoyer.“Replacing the Thomas Johnson Bridge has been a priority for me for a long time, and I’m glad that Congress acted last year to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help modernize bridges like this all over America. The state ought to use the funds in this law for the Thomas Johnson Bridge so that we can strengthen safety for travelers and re-invest in the connection between Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties.”

First opened to traffic in 1977, the bridge – a key connection between Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties – is in a concerning state of disrepair and has been deemed functionally obsolete. The two-lane bridge’s replacement has been a top priority for local officials for years, as the current structure carries more than 30,000 vehicles per day and the level of traffic is only expected to increase in the coming years. The new bridge is planned to be four lanes, with shoulders and a shared-use path for pedestrian and bicycle travelers. The increased capacity will relieve commuter congestion, facilitate more efficient safety and emergency evacuations, and better serve major area employers – including Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. 

“Southern Maryland’s safety, security, economic well-being and efficient transportation relies on the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge. This bridge is a critical point of access for our region and has far exceeded its two-lane capacity. The time to replace the bridge is now; it’s vitally important that we get on track to replace this bridge as soon as possible. With the commitment of $1 million in funding from our federal partners to help advance the effort, we will continue to work with, and thank, our state legislators to secure the additional funding needed to get this project moving,” said Calvert County Board of County Commissioners President Earl F. “Buddy” Hance.

“In addition to the infrastructure needing repair and replacement, suicide mitigation measures on the bridge must also be prioritized and addressed. We are facing unprecedented challenges to the mental health of residents in both counties. Over the last months, the number of people jumping from the bridge has escalated. Public safety repairs and suicide mitigation measures should go hand in hand with this project,” said St. Mary’s County Commission President Randy Guy. 

“The Thomas Johnson Bridge replacement has been and is a high priority for our local governments in Calvert & St. Mary’s Counties as well as the Tri County Council for Southern Maryland. I will continue to do everything I can to encourage the State to address this priority. Thank you to our federal representatives for their work to address these needs and for our partnership at all levels of government to best serve the people of Southern Maryland,” said State Senator Jack Bailey.

“The Thomas Johnson Bridge is integral to the workforce of Calvert and St. Mary's Counties. Not only for economic development, but also in the event of an emergency management situation it is critical that we fund a replacement. Thank you to our federal Congressional Delegation for your continued support for this project. We will continue to work with MDOT to secure a share of the $400 million necessary to ensure the safety and ease of travel for our region and identify additional funding sources,” said Delegate Rachel Jones (D-SD-27B), Chairperson, Regional Infrastructure Advisory Committee.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a once-in-a-generation investment in American infrastructure that will provide more than $7 billion in federal funding directly to Maryland over five years to strengthen our roads and bridges, along with our water infrastructure, broadband internet, climate resilience, and more. The lawmakers worked to enact this law in Congress to create good jobs, grow the economy, enhance U.S. competitiveness in the world, and make our transportation system more sustainable and equitable. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – through which these bridge-related funds are administered – more than $350 billion over five fiscal years for surface transportation programs nationwide.