Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) is one of four Congressional Co-chairs who will participate in Infrastructure Advocacy Day on May 18th, to raise awareness about the critical infrastructure needs in this country.
A third-generation Marylander, Ben Cardin has been a national leader on strengthening America’s infrastructure and protecting its natural resources while representing the people of Maryland in the United States Senate, and before that in the House of Representatives and Maryland State House.
Senator Cardin currently serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). He is a senior member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) and Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. He also serves on the Senate Finance Committee (SFC). The interconnectivity of these assignments have allowed Senator Cardin to promote policies, legislation and programs that help grow our state and national economies and create job opportunities.
Senator Cardin is a leading advocate for the Chesapeake Bay, which is the economic, historical and cultural heart of Maryland. Nationally, he is a champion of clean air and clean water. He has introduced legislation to restore the health of America’s great water bodies and is the leading proponent of investing in improvements to America’s aging water infrastructure system while preparing it for the impacts of climate change.
The Many Ways That Infrastructure Matters
It matters if we’re going to be able to have a modern economy and create the jobs we want for our children and our grandchildren. You need to have the roads, the bridges, the dams, the electrical systems, the water infrastructure systems in order to accomplish those types of results. So it’s important for the quality of life as well as the economic future of America, and we have fallen behind…And we recognize that it’s in our national interest to invest a lot more in modernizing our infrastructure.
We Need to Re-Think Infra Funding
The good news of course we have passed a major multi-year transportation reauthorization, we’re on the verge of passing a water resources reauthorization. Also we are on the verge of passing some important legislation, already have passed some. But here’s the challenge moving forward: the funding sources for these infrastructure investments are not going to be there in the future…So we need to look at ways in which we’re going to be having sustainable programs moving into the future so we have predictability for infrastructure and development in America.
Long-Term Federal Funding Is Key
There is no question that you need to have predictable long-term funding for major transportation programs. If you’re going to replace a bridge or build a bridge, you need to have the funding that’s going to last multiple years because those projects can’t be built on a one-year budget. If you’re going to do a major interchange or do a major road program it requires multi-year commitments. And yes the local governments are prepared to do their share, and they have stepped up and they’re prepared to do what they can, but they can’t do it without the federal partner.
Taking Action Before It’s Too Late
Americans believe when they turn the tap on that they’ll get safe drinking water. In fact that was not true in Flint Michigan, and the price for that was astronomical. The seeds for that type of problem exist in every one of our urban communities in America…We should be proactive on this and Americans should be more engaged. And quite frankly I think it is a popular political issue; we just need to focus on the results and recognize there is a way that we can provide for the long-term stability of our infrastructure modernization.
Why America Is Strong, and How We Can Keep It That Way
The only way you can serve, I think, in Congress is to be an optimist, because there are days here that you could get discouraged. But we recognize that we have the strongest country in the world. We have the strongest country for many reasons. It’s the innovation of Americans; it’s our commitment towards each other; it’s for good governance; it’s the strength of America’s presence globally, but we know that we need to first take care of our concerns at home and that means let’s make sure that Americans have every opportunity that this great country offers, and that means the public officials need to take the steps to modernize our infrastructure, to modernize our capacity in America so that we can continue to grow.