As Maryland's governor, I was privileged to be part of some of the state's largest transportation projects including the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Big projects like these receive a lot of press, but I know from my time in office that for many Marylanders it was the smaller neighborhood projects that made a big difference in their lives. Projects like Canal Place in Cumberland and the Harborwalk Promenade in Baltimore can provide neighborhood amenities, improve community safety and support local businesses.
For 20 years, local communities have had access to a modest share of our federal tax dollars for smaller-scale, local transportation projects that help to complete our transportation network. The funding program that paid for local projects was threatened as the Senate crafted its version of the national transportation bill. The amendment added by Sens. Cardin and Thad Cochran will make sure that our communities can continue to have access to and control over those funds.
There's a good reason so many people reached out to support Senator Cardin's defense of this program. It is easy to overlook these small, often inexpensive, projects but they are often what turns "infrastructure" into a neighborhood. These funds have been transforming deserted downtowns into thriving business districts, bringing new sidewalks, crosswalks or bike lanes to dangerous roads, and allowing kids to walk to school safely.
Thanks to the responsiveness of Senator Cardin, this amendment makes sure local officials, who know their own communities' transportation needs best, stay at the table and have a say in how to use this small but important sliver of federal funding. For that, we truly appreciate Senator Cardin's leadership.
Parris N. Glendening, Washington