Maryland’s delegation on Capitol Hill is preparing legislation that would ensure that the federal government pays the full cost of replacing the Francis Scott Key Bridge that collapsed into the Patapsco River two weeks ago.

Speaking in Washington Tuesday morning, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin said he would soon introduce a bill to bypass the usual cost-sharing formula for transportation projects, in light of the scope of the tragedy and President Joe Biden’s pledge to pay for the project.

“This is a commitment that is normal for this type of catastrophic loss of major infrastructure,” Cardin, a Democrat, said after a meeting of the Maryland delegation with Gov. Wes Moore and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Cardin noted that Maryland’s efforts for the Key Bridge are similar to those after a bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis in 2007.

Cardin was flanked by other representatives from Maryland, including U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, the delegation’s sole Republican and a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus.

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Harris pledged that he would support the legislation.

“Tragedy knows no partisanship. This wasn’t a Republican tragedy, it wasn’t a Democrat tragedy,” Harris said, adding that the solution need not be partisan, either.

Working together will ensure that the new bridge is built back better than the one that collapsed, he said.

“I’m committed to making sure that we navigate this through a bipartisan process in both houses and get it to the president’s desk,” Harris said.

The far-right House Freedom Caucus has said that the federal government shouldn’t pay out any money until the government seeks “maximum liability from the foreign shipping companies upfront” and officials exhaust existing federal funds.

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The group has also said environmental and labor wage rules should be suspended for the reconstruction project.

Harris did not respond to reporters’ questions about the Freedom Caucus statement, instead focusing on the first step of eliminating the cost-share requirement. “In this tragedy, Maryland should not have to bear part of the cost,” he said.

The legislation and funding effort will include a provision that the government should recoup money from liable parties or insurers, officials said. Any money recovered would be used to pay back the federal government for the upfront money spent on the project.

“It is our expectation that the federal taxpayer will be made whole, but we do not want that to get in the way,” said Buttigieg.

Cardin said members of the delegation have already been talking with key lawmakers from both parties.

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Maryland has four members on House Appropriations: U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, U.S. Rep. David Trone, U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, and Harris.

Moore said he left a closed-door meeting with members of the delegation optimistic about the strategy for lobbying for funding.

“The meeting today was very emblematic of the kind of support the state of Maryland has had from the very beginning,” said Moore, a Democrat.

Maryland’s senators and representatives expressed confidence that they’ll get their legislation through.

“I feel that Baltimore pride that says when we get knocked, down we pick ourselves back up,” said U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes. Immediately, that’s what people in Baltimore and Maryland began to do, he added.

But, he said: “We can’t do it by ourselves.”

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics and government. She previously reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and other Maryland newspapers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, she lives in northern Anne Arundel County.

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