Maryland Governor Launches Aid Program for Port of Baltimore Businesses

Maryland Governor Port of Baltimore
Maryland Governor Wes Moore unveiled a program on Friday designed to aid businesses at the Port of Baltimore affected by the recent collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Maryland Governor Moore emphasized in a press release on Friday the urgent need to support the 8,000 Port workers directly affected by the Key Bridge collapse, along with the numerous others impacted by this crisis.

“By collaborating with the Maryland General Assembly, the federal government, and local partners, we are extending assistance to workers and businesses in need,” he added. “Together, we are committed to ensuring that no one is left behind in our response to this bridge collapse.”

The Port of Baltimore Worker Retention Program aims to provide grants to eligible organizations directly affected by the reduced operations at the Port. Its goal is to minimize or eliminate layoffs by enabling businesses to retain their employees until the Port fully reopens. Employers can apply for up to $200,000 through the program, with a maximum expenditure of $7,500 per worker.

According to the program’s policy, eligible applicants include small businesses in Maryland, as well as labor unions, trade associations, or companies that contract with or are members of a trade association dependent on access to the private and public marine terminals at the Port.

These entities must have seen their activities hindered or halted entirely due to reduced Port operations. All applicants must be committed to resuming operations to the fullest extent possible once the Port resumes full operation.

Maryland Secretary of Labor Portia Wu emphasized the program’s significance in aiding critical Port of Baltimore businesses and their workers during this challenging period.

Wu stated that the Worker Retention Program aims to ensure the continued operation of Port businesses and enable workers to earn income to support their families while efforts are made to reopen the shipping channels.

The announcement follows the collapse incident that occurred just over two weeks ago, when a cargo ship named Dali lost power and collided with the bridge, leading to significant structural damage. Six out of eight construction workers who were on the bridge at the time filling potholes tragically lost their lives.

The Port has since been closed for repairs, with neither a timeline nor the full cost of the reconstruction project determined yet.

President Biden, who visited Baltimore in the aftermath of the collapse, has pledged to utilize government resources to aid in recovery efforts.

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