Maryland Gov. Signs Law Supporting Children of Key Bridge Collapse Victims

April 11, 2024
The Port Act will provide economic relief to the community in Baltimore

On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed the Protecting Opportunities and Regional Trade (Port) Act into law which will provide economic support for people who cannot work while the Port of Baltimore is closed. It will also cover the future education expenses for the children of the victims who died in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

“Today, and every day, we are thinking about and praying for the six victims of a Key Bridge collapse and also their families,” Moore said while addressing a crowd of lawmakers, advocates and administration officials who mobilized to respond to the disaster. “They are in our hearts, they are in our thoughts and they are in our prayers.”

Six construction workers fell to their death when the Key Bridge collapsed. So far, divers have recovered the bodies of Alejandro Hernández Fuentes, 35, Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, and Maynor Suazo Sandoval, 38. They were on break from repairing potholes on the bridge at the time of the collapse.

According to officials, they are still searching for Jose Mynor Lopez, Miguel Luna, and Carlos Hernandez. Most of the men left behind wives and young children. 

The Port Act provides a scholarship for the surviving children of the victims, which would total at least $3,000 and as much as full in-state tuition for each eligible student. The scholarship would go toward paying for undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

Advocates who have been working with the victims’ families embraced the scholarship as a first step toward honoring the men.

“This is a compassionate and necessary response to this tragedy that has left hardworking families in heartache,” Gustavo Torres, executive director of the immigrant rights group CASA, said in a statement. “We applaud Gov. Moore and the administration’s commitment to ensuring every family impacted has a secure economic future.”

Moore proposed the scholarship program, which will also support the children of roadside workers killed in other transportation incidents, including a fatal 2023 crash on the Baltimore Beltway that left six construction workers dead after two allegedly speeding cars collided, sending one of the vehicles into a work zone.

Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller also advocated for successful legislation to increase fines for speeding in work zones, which raised the cost of a ticket from $40 to up to $500, depending on the severity of the violation. Fines are doubled when workers are present.


Source: The Washington Post

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