Maryland Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Fund Reconstruction of Collapsed Baltimore Bridge

Jimmy Williams

A group of Maryland lawmakers introduced the Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act, a two-page bill aimed at funding the reconstruction and repair of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge. The bridge collapsed last month after a container ship struck one of its main supports, resulting in the tragic deaths of six construction workers.

The legislation, spearheaded by Maryland Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Rep. Kweisi Mfume and other members of the state’s congressional delegation, proposes that the federal government cover 100% of the cost of replacing the bridge.

Sen. Cardin emphasized the federal government’s crucial role in the reconstruction efforts, stating that the bill “makes it very clear” that the federal government will bear the entire cost of the bridge replacement. President Biden has expressed support for federal funding, and the government has already released emergency relief funding amounting to $60 million.

However, the total cost of the recovery and rebuilding effort remains uncertain. While some lawmakers have raised concerns about approving additional federal funds upfront, the administration has stressed the urgency of the situation and the need to expedite the process while ensuring accountability for the damage.

Sen. Cardin highlighted bipartisan support for the bill, emphasizing its national significance.

“This is a national issue. I believe we have strong bipartisan support for the traditional 100% reimbursements,” Cardin said. “In regards to replenishing funds, we’ve been able to do that on a bipartisan basis because every community in the nation is impacted by these funds that are in the Department of Transportation to deal with emergency situations.”

Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, echoed this sentiment, stating that the tragedy transcends partisanship and calling for a bipartisan approach to address the issue.

“This wasn’t a Republican tragedy, it wasn’t a Democrat tragedy and the solution won’t be a partisan solution — it’ll be a bipartisan solution,” Harris said.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore emphasized the national implications of the bridge collapse, stressing the importance of a collective and bipartisan response to its reconstruction. He underscored the need for unity in addressing the tragedy and rebuilding efforts.

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