Maryland Legislators Propose Bill Mandating Full Federal Funding for Baltimore Bridge Repairs

Maryland Legislators Propose Bill Mandating Full Federal Funding for Baltimore Bridge Repairs

Thursday, lawmakers from Maryland offered a bill that would require the federal government to pay for all of the repairs to the Baltimore bridge that collapsed last month after a ship hit it.

The bill was put forward by Democratic Sens. The eight members of the Maryland House are Kweisi Mfume (D), Andy Harris (R), Steny Hoyer (D), Dutch Ruppersberger (D), John Sarbanes (D), Jamie Raskin (D), David Trone (D), and Glenn Ivey (D). All eight are Democrats.

This bill, introduced by Van Hollen, was backed by both Democrats and Republicans. Its goal is to make sure that the federal government pays for rebuilding the bridge as quickly and safely as possible, and that federal taxpayers get any money that is recovered from those responsible.

“Amend the federal cost-share requirement” for the government Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program for Disaster-Damaged Highways and Bridges. The bill is called the Baltimore Bridge Response Invests and Delivers Global Economic Relief Act.

In late March, a cargo ship hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore and caused it to fall. This bill would make sure that the federal government pays for all of the costs of rebuilding it.

When disasters damage roads and bridges, the federal government usually pays 90% of the costs and the state pays the other 10%, but Cardin said at a press conference this week that there have been times when the state has had to pay more.

The ship Dali lost power as it was leaving Baltimore Harbor and hit the bridge sharply. Ever since, the port of Baltimore has been closed, and boats are now going through temporary channels while workers start to clear out the debris.

Six of the eight building workers who were on the bridge that night died when it fell. The Coast Guard has started looking for the bodies of three people who are still missing.

“The sudden collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge was a tragedy for people and for the economy, both in Maryland and across the country.” Cardin said in a statement Thursday, “As we continue to mourn the loss of life and this part of our skyline, we can also begin to heal the wounds that this disaster has left behind.”

Last week, President Biden visited the bridge and said that he thought the Baltimore Port would be open again by the end of May.

It’s not clear how much a new bridge would cost, but it’s thought to be in the billions of dollars.

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