Sarbanes Secures Big Wins for the Chesapeake Bay and for Energy Grid Modernization As House Passes Massive Infrastructure Overhaul Bill

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today voted to pass the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), a bill to significantly enhance and modernize American transportation systems and infrastructure in communities across the country.

The bill contains several environmental provisions authored, led and secured by Congressman Sarbanes, including:

  • Reauthorizing the Chesapeake Bay Program to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution across the Bay Watershed and improve long-term Bay health;
  • Energizing Chesapeake Bay conservation efforts to help local entities work on the ground to restore and safeguard fish and wildlife habitats throughout the Bay Watershed;
  • Reauthorizing the Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Network to preserve and increase access to the Bay Watershed;
  • Modernizing America’s electric grid to improve its resiliency to withstand cyberattacks and extreme weather events and enable it to integrate clean technologies; and
  • Offering homeowners free or reduced-priced tree planting services to help lower energy costs, reduce stormwater runoff, decrease urban heat island effect and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“The Moving Forward Act contains several important efforts to address the climate crisis, including reducing vehicle emissions, modernizing our electric grid, investing in energy efficiency standards and increasing our clean energy capacity,” said Congressman Sarbanes, a prominent member of the House Energy Subcommittee and a Co-Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force. “Importantly, the bill also supports successful conservation programs that help protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay, one of our nation’s most important environmental treasures and economic drivers.”

Sarbanes continued: “Rebuilding and transforming America’s infrastructure will allow us to meet the demands and challenges we currently face and remain successful in an increasingly competitive global environment. As we work to fight the COVID-19 crisis and overcome the financial ramifications of the virus, this sweeping infrastructure proposal will help catalyze our nation’s economic activity, create new, good-paying jobs and put us on a path to prosperity in the years ahead.”

Other key elements of the Moving Forward Act include:

  • Rebuilding and reimagining America’s transportation infrastructure by investing $500 billion to fix crumbling roads and bridges, boost public transit and national rail networks, improve transportation safety, reduce highway traffic, maintain and upgrade harbors, modernize airports and put the United States on a path toward zero transportation-sector carbon emissions;
  • Investing in schools with $130 billion in infrastructure funding for high-poverty schools with facilities that endanger the health and safety of students and educators;
  • Expanding and improving affordable housing by delivering $100 billion to create or preserve 1.8 million affordable homes, reduce housing inequality, increase community and household resiliency in the face of natural disasters, improve hazardous living conditions, and increase the environmental sustainability of housing stock;
  • Providing affordable, high-speed internet access to all parts of the country by investing $100 billion in broadband internet infrastructure for underserved communities, prioritizing those with persistent poverty;
  • Modernizing America’s energy infrastructure with a $70 billion push to transform the U.S. electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy, strengthen existing infrastructure, help develop an electric vehicle charging network and support energy efficiency, weatherization and Smart Communities infrastructure;
  • Bolstering the nation’s health care infrastructure by providing $30 billion to increase hospital capacity and strengthen care, help community health centers respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies, improve clinical laboratory infrastructure, support the Indian Health Service and boost community-based care;
  • Protecting access to safe drinking water by investing more than $25 billion in programs to ensure that all communities have clean drinking water and to remove dangerous forever chemicals, like per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), from local water systems;
  • Strengthening the United States Postal Service by extending $25 billion to modernize postal infrastructure and operations, including a zero-emissions vehicle fleet; and
  • Upgrading childcare facilities with a $10 billion federal investment to improve health and safety conditions.