Van Hollen Statement on Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Including Key Maryland Priorities
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen released the following statement regarding the final passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill which includes key priorities for Maryland. It will now head to the President’s desk for signature, having already passed the Senate:
“To grow our economy and generate more good paying jobs, we’ve got to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, invest in transit systems across the country, modernize our infrastructure to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and tackle climate change. This bipartisan bill is a serious down payment on those priorities – with the resources our state and our nation need to not just build back, but to build back better.
“This legislation includes major provisions of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, such as large investments to improve our transit systems, railways, clean water systems, roads, bridges, and tunnels –bringing an estimated $6 billion for these projects alone to Maryland. Importantly, it also has critical investments to build the backbone for a more competitive, modern U.S. economy, including funds to expand broadband to end the digital divide and to start building out our clean energy grid and electric charging stations.
“I worked to secure key elements in this plan to support Maryland directly, including investments in crucial economic drivers in our state like the Port of Baltimore and a healthy Chesapeake Bay. I also fought to include provisions I authored to reconnect communities that had been split apart by 1960s federal transportation projects like the Highway to Nowhere in West Baltimore. And the bill includes a vital reauthorization of the $150 million annual federal contribution for WMATA for another eight years, policies I wrote to better protect our frontline transit workers, and my bipartisan amendment to ensure tax-payer funded infrastructure projects are soundly financed. Crucially, we also succeeded in adding language to keep federal funding for the Baltimore Red Line metro project alive, despite the Governor’s decision to pull the plug on this crucial investment. Finally, even before the pandemic began, I was working to connect every student, household, and business with affordable high-speed internet and expand the use of clean energy – and those investments in this bill, estimated at over $150 million for our state alone, will help keep Marylanders at the forefront of our global economy.
“This Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is a key step forward in enacting the Build Back Better agenda. This legislation, in tandem with our Build Back Better Bill, will transform our economy and make once-in-a-generation investments in the success of the American people. From day one, I’ve been committed to bringing these investments directly to Maryland workers, students, families, and seniors. Together, these two bills will bring a brighter future – with greater opportunity and shared prosperity – to our state and our nation.”
In his role on the Appropriations and Budget Committees, Senator Van Hollen worked to secure the following in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill:
· Provisions of his, Senator Cardin, and Senator Carper’s Reconnecting Communities Act to remove harmful infrastructure projects of the past in order to reunite neighborhoods. The legislation was based on a pilot program Senator Van Hollen authored in 2019 aimed at addressing the Highway to Nowhere in West Baltimore.
· $238 million in funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and meet the pollution reduction targets of the Bay Agreement.
· Provisions of his Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act to help improve safety for frontline transit workers and commuters.
· $42.250 billion to expand broadband to get more Americans across the country online and $14.2 billion to make broadband more affordable for low-income Americans.
· Reauthorization of WMATA at $150 million annually and provisions to strengthen the WMATA Inspector General’s authority in order to improve oversight and safety. This funding continues the investment the federal government authorized in 2008 via then-Congressman Van Hollen’s bipartisan amendment to the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act.
· $8 billion for Capital Investment Grants, the Federal Transit Administration program that supports the Purple Line and had previously supported the Red Line project in Baltimore City and language to ensure consideration of projects previously in the program, such as the Red Line.
· $17 billion for ports across the country. The Port of Baltimore is a key asset to our state and powerful economic driver for Baltimore and the region.
· Provisions of the Senator’s Promoting Infrastructure by Protecting Our Subcontractors and Taxpayers Act of 2021 to ensure sound financial footing of public-private partnership projects using Federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) financing.
To view estimated funding Maryland would receive from this plan, as projected by the White House,click here.
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