Benjamin L. Cardin

11/20/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2019 17:17

Cardin, Van Hollen Urge MDTA to Support Nice Bridge Protected Bike/Pedestrian Lane

November 20, 2019

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) sent a letter to Maryland Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Chairman of the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Pete Rahn, urging the Board's support of a bike/pedestrian path in the contract for the proposed replacement of the Nice Bridge. The MDTA Board plans to vote on this proposal at tomorrow's meeting.

The Senators write, 'The Nice Bridge is vital to the economy of Charles County, Southern Maryland, the State and the Nation and having protected bike/pedestrian access on the Nice Bridge has long been a goal of members of the Maryland Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Charles County Commissioners. By including a protected bike/pedestrian path into the design of the replacement bridge, the MDTA would be supporting additional recreational tourism in Charles County for generations.'

They continue, 'We hope to partner with you to identify funding opportunities from federal programs that could provide resources toward the project such as the formula funding the State receives from the Federal Highway Administration's Federal-aid Highway Program and the Transportation Alternatives Program.'

In August 2019, Senator Cardin also sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan urging him to follow through with the state's commitment to include the protected bike/pedestrian lane in the new Nice Bridge.

The full text of the November letter to Chairman Rahn is available here and below.

Dear Chairman Rahn,

As you and the other Board members of the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) prepare for your next board meeting on November 21, 2019, we write to express our interest in working with you on a replacement alternative for the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas 'Mac' Middleton Bridge that includes a bike/pedestrian path.

The Nice Bridge is vital to the economy of Charles County, Southern Maryland, the State and the Nation and having protected bike/pedestrian access on the Nice Bridge has long been a goal of members of the Maryland Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Charles County Commissioners. By including a protected bike/pedestrian path into the design of the replacement bridge, the MDTA would be supporting additional recreational tourism in Charles County for generations.

We hope to partner with you to identify funding opportunities from federal programs that could provide resources toward the project such as the formula funding the State receives from the Federal Highway Administration's Federal-aid Highway Program and the Transportation Alternatives Program.

As the FAST Act's authorization comes to an end, we worked with our colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to produce a bill, S.2302, America's Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA). Section 1119 of ATIA, the Bridge Investment Program, establishes a grant program to assist in the rehabilitation or replacement of structurally deficient bridges. Once the bill becomes law we look forward to providing additional support to this and other programs that support our nation's infrastructure through the Appropriations process.

We are glad that the decision was made to replace the existing structure and look forward to working with you and the Board on a plan that includes a protected bicycle and pedestrian lane.

Sincerely,

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