August 06, 2019

Van Hollen Secures Maryland Priorities in Infrastructure Package Passed by Key Senate Committee

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has announced the inclusion of several Maryland priorities within the bipartisan America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019. This legislation, which passed the key Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week, is the most significant investment in America’s highways introduced in history. The bill authorizes $287 billion in federal funding over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges. The bill also includes measures to improve road safety, streamline project delivery, protect the environment and grow the economy. Now that this bill has passed Committee, Senator Van Hollen will work to push it through the rest of the legislative process

Senator Van Hollen said, “Modernizing our infrastructure is crucial to America’s economic success. This legislation includes funding for key investments in our roads and bridges that will help communities across Maryland and our country. I will continue fighting for federal funds that improve our transportation systems and maximize our potential.”

Among the priorities Senator Van Hollen fought for are:

  • A provision to create a new “Community Connectivity” pilot grant program within USDOT. This program would provide funding to remove unnecessary infrastructure – such as Baltimore’s ‘Highway to Nowhere’ so that the space can be better utilized by the community.
  • A provision to prioritize funding for National Park Service infrastructure – including roadways like the Baltimore-Washington Parkway – and  to ensure smaller dollar projects, like the Parkway, are able to receive funding.
  • A provision to allow INFRA grant projects – such as the recently announced Howard Street Tunnel project – to begin more quickly by removing red tape
  • A provision that directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to review permeable pavement research on flood control, fill information gaps where necessary through research and develop models for the performance of permeable pavements and best practices for using permeable pavements. This information could help cities like Ellicott City when they rebuild after devastating floods.
  • And $3.265 billion to fund the Bridge Investment Act, legislation Senator Van Hollen helped introduce, which establishes a competitive grant program to assist the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges – such as the Baltimore Street Bridge in Allegany County – and ease the national bridge repair backlog.

The legislation also:

  • Authorizes $287 billion in highway spending and is the most substantial highway legislation in history;
  • Authorizes $259 billion to be distributed to states by formula;
  • Establishes a program to support projects that will improve the resiliency of roads and bridges to natural disasters and extreme weather events; and
  • Authorizes a mix of formula-based and grant-based programs to begin to reduce transportation-related emissions.