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Congress funds surveillance planes in Hagerstown

HAGERSTOWN — U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski says Congress has approved $43 million to continue production of border-patrol planes in Hagerstown.

The Democratic senator said Monday that the funds were part of a continuing resolution Congress passed last week to keep the federal government running through Sept. 30.

Mikulski says the money will pay for the purchase of two more planes modified by Sierra Nevada Corp. of Sparks, Nev.

The company won a Homeland Security Department contract in 2009 to produce surveillance aircraft for the agency. The program is part of a plan to replace, upgrade and standardize aircraft used for customs and border patrol.

Mikulski says Congress appropriated $22 million in the 2012 fiscal year to fund work on the first five aircraft.

She says the funds will protect about 200 jobs.