May 22, 2012
Maryland Workers Win as Governor O’Malley signs Legislation to ensure that Transportation Projects Train a New Workforce While Building State Infrastructure
Annapolis, MD –Accompanied by representatives of the Fair Development Coalition, Governor O’Malley signed into law today House Bill 457, mandating the usage of federal transportation funds to train the workers that will build Maryland highways and lay new train tracks transporting Maryland families.
The legislation, second of its kind in the country, allows the state to use a provision of federal law that permits the use of up to a half of one percent of funding from the federal transportation fund to go to workforce training. The legislation will create more than one million dollars in new training programs to assist out-of-work Marylanders in sharpening their skills.
The legislation was a campaign priority of the Fair Development Coalition, a statewide group of advocates dedicated to the construction of the Red Line and Purple Line metro projects in manners that create high quality jobs and stable local communities. Fair Development Coalition partners include the Baltimore Regional Initiative Developing Genuine Equality (BRIDGE), Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF), Safe and Sound, CASA de Maryland, the Coalition for Smarter Growth, the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), and more.
“Our communities were the first impacted by the recession and have been the slowest to recover,” said Rev. Dr. Hoffman Brown III, Senior Pastor of Wayland Baptist Church on Baltimore’s West Side and a founding co-chair of coalition partner BRIDGE. “This legislative victory is exactly the type of proactive response that unites communities and creates equity and justice by changing policies that perpetuate concentrated poverty.”
Fair Development Coalition members consider this year’s victory a mere first step in a multi-year Red Line and Purple Line equity movement that will put thousands of Marylanders back to work constructing mass transit and preserve the local communities – residents and small businesses – that are committed to staying in those neighborhoods close to the proposed train lines. On June 30, hundreds will come together to celebrate victory and do the planning to continue moving forward.