Maryland share of omnibus earmarks exceeds $200 million

Amount falls short of what state had been designated

News The Baltimore Sun December 21, 2007
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Maryland will receive more than $200 million in the omnibus spending measure approved over the Dec. 15 weekend by Congress. The earmark is millions short of what lawmakers had expected to receive.

The figure is more than $5 million less than the amount approved earlier by the Senate to help state and local officials prepare for the expansion of military facilities in the nationwide base realignment and closure program (BRAC).

With the expansion, tens of thousands of new households are expected in Maryland over the next five years.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, chairman of Gov. Martin O'Malley's BRAC Cabinet, said the state would continue to invest in necessary transportation projects, even with less federal funding than anticipated.

"It doesn't deter us from our goals and objectives," he said. "It's just a question of how quickly we get there."

The legislation, which President Bush is now expected to sign, also cuts funding for base realignment and closure nationwide by nearly $1 billion—a reduction that could slow the expansion of the Maryland facilities.

"Unfortunately, President Bush's refusal to negotiate with congressional Democrats has shortchanged our nation's domestic priorities," Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski said through a spokeswoman.

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