BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland’s lawmakers gathered next to a structurally deficient overpass in Dundalk on Monday to draw attention to the state’s crumbling infrastructure, which a new influx of federal funds aims to repair.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski stood next to an overpass in Dundalk to highlight the importance of those repairs.

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The overpass is the primary connection from Dundalk to Tradepoint Atlantic—an industrial site on Sparrows Point Boulevard that employs more than 12,000 people and aims to be the largest global logistics hub in America.

It is also one of 273 bridges in Maryland that have been declared structurally deficient, according to state officials.

Lawmakers said they expect $400 million in federal funding to go towards repairing the overpass and hundreds of other crumbling bridges in Maryland over the span of five years.

Overall, Maryland will receive $7 billion from the federal government over five years to improve its roads, bridges, water infrastructure, broadband internet, climate resilience, and other things.

The funding comes from Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in November. The bill provides $350 billion for infrastructure fixes across the nation.

In his State of the Union address last week, President Joe Biden noted that improvements will be made to 65,000 miles of highways and 1,500 bridges in 2022 alone.

“America used to have the best roads, bridges, and airports on Earth,” Biden said during his speech. “Now our infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world.”

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Americans won’t be able to compete for the jobs of the 21st Century if those problems aren’t addressed, Biden said.

Just a few months ago, Biden visited Baltimore to tout his infrastructure plans.

He stopped by the Port of Baltimore in November 2021 to talk about the importance of maintaining the type of infrastructure that enabled America to remain competitive with other countries.

“By investing in our roads, our bridges, our ports, and so much else, this bill’s going to make it easier for companies to get good to markets more quickly,” he said.

Earlier that year, Gov. Larry Hogan had highlighted some of Maryland’s bridge and highway problems at a an infrastructure summit. He hosted the summit in Annapolis in April 2021.

“Just one month ago, we saw the consequences of decades of underinvestment in our infrastructure when a bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh, dropping a municipal bus into a ravine,” Ruppersberger said. “These federal dollars will help prevent similar catastrophes here in Maryland and around the country, keeping commuters safe and creating jobs in the process.”

As the bridge gave way to the weight of gravity, various vehicles and a bus plummeted into the park beneath it and multiple people were injured.

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“We can’t wait until something goes terribly wrong,” Van Hollen said. “That’s why we fought to pass the infrastructure modernization law and deliver over $400 million in investments to our state to put Marylanders to work strengthening hundreds of bridges. This is just one part of an over $7 billion federal investment in Maryland infrastructure over the next five years to boost our state, our economy, and our workers.”

CBS Baltimore Staff