Maryland programs stand to gain from budget passage Millions for state depend on congressional vote

October 16, 1998|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Scattered in the fine print of the enormous federal spending package expected to be enacted as soon as today are several dozen projects that would add up to tens of millions of dollars for Maryland.

The bill sets aside $14.6 million toward cutting a deeper channel for the Baltimore Harbor and $4.5 million for a day-care center at Andrews Air Force Base. There's also $1 million for restoring Sotterly Plantation, a historic slave plantation in St. Mary's County.

All of the items, and more than $30 million for Maryland projects previously approved in spending legislation on veterans affairs and housing, depend on Congress' approval of the overall compromise spending package and President Clinton's signature on it.

Although some of the spending will go to new initiatives, much of it is targeted for already established programs that affect a broad range of Maryland interests, according to lawmakers and congressional aides.

"The state will have done reasonably well under this bill," said Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, a Southern Maryland Democrat who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

The compromise spending bill includes funds for transportation programs authorized in earlier legislation, including $50 million for completion of the Metrorail in the Washington suburbs, $17 million for the Maryland Rail Commuter Service, and $68.2 million as the first installment toward replacing the Woodrow Wilson bridge, which connects Prince George's County with Alexandria, The bill also contains more modest provisions, such as $7.6 million for Route 220, $4 million to upgrade the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and $1 million to start putting down a second set of tracks for the Baltimore light rail system.

Additionally, congressional aides say, the bill includes: $12 million to continue financing a federal task force that coordinates the fight against drug trafficking in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

$9 million for an anti-missile radar jammer built by Northrup Grumman in Linthicum for Navy planes that the Defense Department did not want, but was pushed by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat.

$6.6 million to replace a building at the Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center, used to test explosive materials, that exploded last winter.

$4.3 million to remove two unneeded Navy towers in Annapolis.

$1.2 million for a new center to welcome visitors to the C&O Canal at Cumberland's train depot.

$1.1 million to erect a wrought-iron fence at a federal center in Suitland, Prince George's County, to replace a chain-link fence that has been denounced as an eyesore by neighbors.

$1 million to purchase land around the historic Civil War battlefields near Antietam.

Pub Date: 10/16/98

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