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White House Representatives Discuss Potential Infrastructure Upgrades With Marylanders

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- White House representatives on Thursday met virtually with Maryland community partners to discuss issues important to our communities.

One of the conversations centered on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law in November, which will steer money to state and local governments to rebuild roads, bridges and public transportation with a focus on climate change mitigation.

"In Maryland, there are 273 bridges and over 2,201 miles of highway in poor condition," said Saki Ververis, the White House's director of veterans engagement.

Ververis, an Anne Arundel County resident, commutes to Washington D.C. on roads that could potentially be improved through the infrastructure law.

"I got this job at the White House and ended up having to commute every day, and I got to really experience how long that commute can really be," Ververis said. "So, it's been a great learning experience, and I'm very excited to see how the infrastructure law will potentially improve my commute."

According to White House officials, Maryland is expected to receive roughly $4.6 billion dollars over five years in federal formula funding for highways and bridges. That's approximately 36% more than what the state receives on average each year for the same purpose.

"On average, each driver pays about $637 dollars per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair," Ververis said.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Maryland a C grade on its overall infrastructure report card. According to the report, roadway capacity lags behind travel demand during peak hours with "heavy to severe" congestion happening on about 15% of the highway network.

Over the last decade, Ververis said, commute times have increased more than 5% throughout the state.

Maryland's bridges scored a B rating with approximately 5% listed in poor condition, compared to the national average of nearly 8.5%. On average, the American Society of Civil Engineers found bridges in the state are 48 years old, quickly approaching their 50-year lifespan.

Residents were able to share opinions on happenings in their communities with White House officials, however, this portion was closed to the media.

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