U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, issued the following statement on passage of the Transportation Conference Report that reauthorizes federal surface transportation programs for two years. The legislation also extends the subsidy for student loans for another 12 months and reauthorizes the national flood insurance program.
"We need more jobs in America today and investing in our nation's highways, bridges, and transportation infrastructure is one the best federal investments this nation can make, as they are the very arteries of our nation's commerce. In Maryland and across this country, highways are critical to growing our economy, especially during such challenging times. Many of the funding levels are lower than I would have preferred, including transit and road repair, as well as transportation enhancement programs including bike and pedestrian infrastructure. These cuts will have an impact on our communities. But once signed into law, this bill will allow states to plan projects into the future and will support thousands of well-paying jobs and economic development. The programs in this bill will make a concrete difference along the Baltimore-Washington Corridor, in rural parts of our state and elsewhere."
More than 10,000 transportation and construction sector in Maryland depend on the passage of this bill. It will provide vital for Maryland to pursue priority projects in the state like safety improvements to the Baltimore Beltway, advancement of transit Projects like the Baltimore Red Line and Purple Line in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties and much needed funding to help Metro improve the function and safety the Metrorail system. The bill also includes several provisions that will advance the completion of the Appalachian Development Highway System that serving Western Maryland.
SENATOR CARDIN ON STUDENT LOANS: "During this fragile time for our economy, the doubling of the student interest rate from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on Stafford loans would have been a tragedy for many families. I am pleased that we were finally able to break the gridlock and come to a bipartisan agreement. Millions of college students are already weighed down by overwhelming student loan debt -- more than $1 trillion worth. Students who take out loans for college over the next year will continue to save money overall, keeping thousands of dollars in their pocket over the cost of the average loan. As we work to restart our economy, this is an important step in helping fill the need for highly skilled, educated workers."
SENATOR CARDIN ON FLOOD INSURANCE: "I am pleased that Congress has finally passed a long-term 5-year reauthorization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This long-term reauthorization, which includes several important reforms, provides property owners and buyers greater certainly when buying, renewing, and modifying flood insurance policies. In Maryland, there are over 70,000 flood insurance policies in effect, covering over $15 billion in property. This program has paid out nearly a quarter-billion dollars in losses in Maryland since 1978."