In The News
Descendant of Maryland-born abolitionist Frederick Douglass, joined federal, state and local officials in a ceremony Friday commemorating the 150th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the B&P Tunnel. During the ceremony, Amtrak announced it will honor Douglass by naming its replacement for the B&P Tunnel after him.... In another sign of momentum, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday evening Maryland’s commitment to working with Amtrak and the federal government to replace the aging tunnel. The state and Amtrak are negotiating a formal memorandum of understanding.... Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater wouldn’t disclose how much the state is looking to commit, but said he is working with Hogan on including state-funded portions of the project in the next six-year capital budget for transportation projects. He said the state is already working on procuring new dual diesel and electric locomotives that can run completely on electricity while traveling through the new tunnel. Congressman Kweisi Mfume, John Sarbanes and Anthony Brown each spoke during the event about the importance of the tunnel and what they’re doing to push for federal funding. U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen provided recorded video statements. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg, Mayor Brandon Scott and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democratic candidate for governor next year, also spoke. They all said constructing a new tunnel is expected to create 30,000 jobs for the region, including 20,000 during construction. Scott said the project will provide a boost to Baltimore and hopefully convince more people to move to the city even if they work elsewhere. All of the leaders agreed that moving the project forward must be a top priority. “With all of this leadership here, we have no excuse but to get this thing done,” Slater said.
As Gov Larry Hogan, R-Md., lifts Maryland out of a state of emergency, businesses are looking, some even desperate to hire. At the same time other small businesses are struggling to pay off debt and secure relief funds. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., joins the morning show to discuss these challenges in our Your Voice series.
Helping Americans find employment is the cornerstone of President Joe Biden's American Jobs plan. At least $100 billion has been set aside for workforce development, including registered apprenticeship programs like the one the U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh showcased Tuesday in Baltimore County. Apprenticeship programs like this one have become a priority for people out of work or who may have chosen a profession instead of a formal education. Walsh spent time with close to a dozen residents now enrolled in the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 37 in Sparrows Point. As a former head of a building and construction trades council, Walsh said what he saw taking place in Baltimore County is an example of what can take place across the country. "This is so important because it lays down the foundation for the importance of training, of educating the young people and the people that come through these programs it really is important," Walsh said.... Local and national government leaders said they're committed to investing in the future now.... "It improves the middle class. It lifts our economy more broadly for working people, and organized working people are what can make a difference in this country," said U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Maryland. And in particular, places like the training facility in Baltimore County. The goal of those who are currently in the program is to land a job in three years or less.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will join U.S. Rep John Sarbanes to tour the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 37’s training site in Baltimore, Maryland. He will also discuss the Biden-Harris administration’s historic investments in workforce training with labor leaders, apprentices and instructors. Walsh will also discuss The American Jobs Plan, which includes $100 billion for workforce development, including the creation of one to two million new Registered Apprenticeships. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski will join U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, U.S. Rep John Sarbanes, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 37 Business Manager Bob Hosley, and other labor leaders to tour the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 37’s training site in Sparrows Point.
U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, with Maryland Congressmen Kweisi Mfume, John Sarbanes, and Anthony Brown, joined Mayor Brandon Scott on Monday to make the case for infrastructure funding to redress West Baltimore’s infamous “Highway to Nowhere.” Built in the late 1960s, the long-since scrapped urban highway was once intended to connect I-70 to downtown and link it to I-95 and I-83. Completion of the project was finally halted amid community opposition—in part led by then-community organizer Barbara Mikulski—from threatened neighborhoods along the proposed route. By that point, however, the damage had been done in West Baltimore where more than 970 homes, 60 businesses, and 1,500 local residents were displaced. In April, Van Hollen and Cardin introduced the Reconnecting Communities Act to reconnect and revitalize areas like the West Mulberry Street and West Franklin Street corridor that were harmed by the construction of the Interstate Highway System. That legislation, if passed by Congress, would establish a U.S. Department of Transportation grant program as part of President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and assist communities in removing or retrofitting highway infrastructure that became an obstacle to mobility and economic opportunity. Biden’s plan, according to the White House, includes $20 billion explicitly to “reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments,” with a targeted “40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities.”
Four Annapolis restaurant owners who overcame hurdles to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic met Tuesday morning with second gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris.... Emhoff joined the business owners for a listening session at the Annapolis Maritime Museum on Tuesday. The restauranteurs talked about the challenges they faced in deciding whether to remain open or shifting their business to takeout, the help they received from federal assistance such as the Paycheck Protection Program and how they joined forces to assist others in the community.... Also among those joining Emhoff at the museum were U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes and Small Business Administration Administrator Isabel Guzman.
Democratic members of Maryland’s congressional delegation expressed hope Monday that — for the first time in decades — there may be an opportunity for funding to redress damage done by West Baltimore’s so-called Highway to Nowhere.... The original plan was to connect Interstate 70 coming from the west with Interstate 95, but the project was halted in the early 1970s amid opposition from threatened neighborhoods along the proposed route and environmentalists.... The senators — along with Mfume and fellow representatives John Sarbanes and Anthony Brown — are pushing legislation called the Reconnecting Communities Act. It would establish a multibillion- dollar grant program to help communities identify and remove highway projects that did more harm than good. The legislation has been introduced on its own and also as part of Democratic President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion package being negotiated with congressional Republicans to rebuild highways, bridges and other infrastructure. The separate “reconnecting” bill has not received GOP backing.
Members of the Maryland congressional delegation on Monday joined Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott to announce plans to get rid of what's called the highway to nowhere. It's a 1 1/2-mile stretch of road that cuts through west Baltimore, dividing neighborhoods and displacing residents and business -- and it doesn't even go anywhere.A concrete ditch is an "open wound" that houses the six-lane road that was never finished. It was supposed to be an east-west expressway. The project destroyed 971 houses, 62 businesses and displaced 1,500 residents. Maryland's members of Congress are pushing legislation designed to undo the damage. They said the legislation is designed to end the legacy of highway construction that divides neighborhoods and erects barriers to opportunity.... City Council President Nick Mosby released a statement, saying: "The work our congressional delegation is doing to reverse our country's history of inequity in infrastructure is critical to Baltimore's success.... I have great confidence in Sens. Van Hollen and (Ben) Cardin and Congressmen Mfume, (John) Sarbanes and Brown to work with the Biden administration to direct key investment to our beloved city from the American Jobs Plan and other legislation, including the Reconnecting Communities Act.
Top leaders in Maryland and the city of Baltimore are united in support for legislation introduced to reconnect communities divided by infrastructure projects, like Baltimore’s Highway to Nowhere.... Van Hollen, Sen. Ben Cardin (D), U.S. Reps. Kwiesi Mfume (D), Anthony Brown (D), John Sarbanes (D), state Sens. Charles E. Sydnor III (D-Baltimore County) and Antonio Hayes (D-Baltimore City), Del. Keith E. Haynes (D-Baltimore City), Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott (D) and Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby (D) all showed at a news conference Monday in support of The Reconnecting Communities Act.... Discriminatory infrastructure projects like Baltimore’s Highway to Nowhere aren’t unique to Maryland: several other primarily Black communities across the country have borne the brunt of incomplete highway projects.