Southern Maryland to get $10M from federal appropriations bill
Caleb M. Soptelean
March 15, 2022
Projects in Southern Maryland would get over $10 million from an omnibus fiscal 2022 appropriations bill that passed the U.S. House and Senate last week.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D, Md.-5th) noted that his district would be getting the funds as part of 10 earmarks that he sponsored as part of the $1.5 trillion bill. Each congressman is capped at 10, he said in a release.
St. Mary’s County would get at least $3.65 million for three projects.
Among the items in Southern Maryland is $2 million for dredging of St. Patrick’s Creek in the 7th District. According to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report, the creek was last dredged in 1987.
It was 7 feet deep and 60 feet wide at that time, but recently was only at 2 feet deep. The dredging project would run 2,450 feet.
“It’s truly amazing,” said Commissioner John O’Connor (R), whose St. Mary’s County district includes the creek. He was happy to hear about the funding, which he said would take care of a critical need.
“Hopefully this will move the Army Corps of Engineers’ project forward,” he said.
David Weiskopf, St. Mary’s County’s attorney and interim administrator, said dredging will allow people to get out to the Chesapeake Bay. The creek empties into the Potomac River near St. Clements Bay.
“Shifting sand makes everything so shallow around here,” Weiskopf said.
On Friday, March 11, U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) noted other Southern Maryland projects in the bill, including $5 million for the 19-mile Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project from White Plains to Camp Springs, $1 million to the Maryland Department of Transportation for design of the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge and $610,000 for body-worn cameras for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.
A meeting planned for March 21 for local officials to dicuss funding for a replacement bridge at Solomons was canceled, according to a release from Calvert County government.
Other Southern Maryland projects in the legislation include:
- $900,000 for St. Mary’s College of Maryland to purchase a research vessel and associated equipment to be used by their new marine sciences program;
- $750,000 for Historic Sotterley to address critical restoration and deferred maintenance;
- The College of Southern Maryland, which has campuses in all three Southern Maryland counties, is slated to get $500,000 to upgrade equipment in its health education program;
- Lifestyles of Maryland would get $160,000 to provide wrap-around services for residents of the Southern Crossing transitional housing project in Charles County; and
- Charles County will get $95,000 for the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary Virtual 3-D paddle experience in Nanjemoy.
The Mallows Bay funding will support the first new National Marine Sanctuary in more than 20 years and allow the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to start work on a Virtual 3-D Paddle Experience, similar to experiences present at other designated National Marine Sanctuary sites where visitors can view the nearly 200 Ghost Fleet vessels.
This would allow for the use of the collection of high resolution imagery of prominent shipwrecks and ecology for web-enabled visits and create user-driven virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, according to a release.
Several other projects would benefit Prince George’s County, including $925,000 for MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital in Clinton to upgrade their behavioral health unit that provides mental health services.
Other Prince George’s projects include:
- $4 million for the Prince George’s County Department of Health to construct a pediatric tele-health network in 100 Prince George’s public schools and provide mental health services to students;
- $2 million for the city of Bowie to fund water infrastructure projects;
- $1.35 million for the Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department to fund water tanks; and
- $750,000 for Bowie State University’s Institute for Restorative Justice to focus on training staff, faculty and community members on restorative justice and practices.
The 2,741-page omnibus would appropriate $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending across the 12 annual bills and $13.6 billion in emergency spending to address the crisis in Ukraine, according to rollcall.com.
The vote on House Resolution 2471 passed the House 249-180 with 29 Republicans voting yes. The Senate passed the bill 68-31 with support from 18 Republicans. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill.