At an event Friday morning that resembled a campaign stop, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced a bridge project in Baltimore County funded with federal stimulus dollars that is expected to support 200 jobs.
O'Malley, a Democrat who is seeking re-election this fall, hailed the $25 million replacement of the interchange at Interstate 695 and Liberty Road as the largest stimulus transportation project in the state.
U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Federal Highway Administrator Victor M. Mendez joined the governor, praising him for his quick use of stimulus money.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is helping to pay for 348 transportation projects in Maryland, most of which are already under way, state officials said. The four-span I-695 bridge is 50 years old and carries an estimated 200,000 vehicles per day.
The project is expected to be complete by fall 2012.
In an endorsement-style speech, Cardin, a fellow Democrat, called O'Malley the "best-prepared governor in the nation" when it comes to quick deployment of stimulus money.
"I'm proud to be part of Team Maryland," Cardin shouted to the small group of elected officials and their aides gathered in a neighborhood near the interchange.
O'Malley said Maryland led the nation in job creation in March — saying a state with 2 percent of the country's population had accounted for 20 percent of its job growth.
Last month, O'Malley launched a "Jobs Across Maryland Tour," which he has used as a way to tout job creation — a theme of his campaign.
Meanwhile, his leading opponent, Republican and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., has argued at his own campaign stops that Maryland has not made any "progress" under O'Malley.