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Hogan pledges millions to Eastern Shore projects

Gov. Larry Hogan, shown in a 2016 file photo, says he’s determined to provide more state funds to projects on the Eastern Shore (Bryan P. Sears)

Gov. Larry Hogan Monday pledged millions of dollars to revitalization projects, schools and roads on the Eastern Shore.

In a brief announcement at the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce, Hogan announced $1 million for revitalization efforts in that city and $29 million for other projects across the Eastern Shore. The governor also used the announcement to highlight legislation that he said would encourage manufacturers to locate in economically challenged areas, including the Eastern Shore, western Maryland and Baltimore City.

“We’re committed to working with your local elected leaders here to invest in projects that support the revitalization of important downtown communities like right here Salisbury and many other towns,” Hogan said.

The new funding would be used for improvements in downtown Salisbury that are part of a 20-year plan developed between the city and the University of Maryland School of Agriculture. The project is expected to help create housing for residents and Salisbury University graduate students.

“This funding brings us one step closer to giving the citizens of Salisbury the city they want and deserve,” said Salisbury Mayor Jacob Day. “These investments will help bring much-needed economic growth and jobs to downtown Salisbury, and I am excited the state has recognized our commitment to this project.”

Hogan also announced another $29 million in projects across the lower Eastern Shore proposed within his 2018 capital budget, including $13 million for Wicomico County, $12 million for Somerset County and $3 million for Worcester County. The projects include:

  • Replenishment of beaches in Ocean City.
  • Funding for the final phase of renovations at the Arthur Perdue minor league baseball stadium.
  • Funding for improvements to the Atlantic General Hospital Regional Cancer Care Center.
  • Construction at West Salisbury Elementary School and Parkside High School.
  • Improvements to the Smith Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • Renovations at the Wellington Wildlife Management area.

As part of the announcement, Hogan also said the state would provide $368 million for road and highway projects on the Eastern Shore over the next several years.

Democrats in Annapolis have been critical of such announcements, saying the governor is paying for unnecessary projects and ignoring transit projects in the state’s densely populated urban areas. They contend that he has over-promised state aid for local road projects by nearly $1.5 billion over the next six years.

Hogan spent the day touring the Eastern Shore, including a stop with Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot where the two spoke to the Greater Salisbury Committee.

“When I was sworn in two years ago as governor, I said that the war on the shore is over and I meant what I said,” said Hogan, referring to what many Republicans from far-flung areas of the state called the “war on rural Maryland.”

“I said that the shore was no longer going to be forgotten or neglected in Annapolis and that you’re going to have a seat at the table,” Hogan said.

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