WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today highlighted how the $1.1 trillion funding package passed by the Congress to fund federal government operations through Sept. 30, 2015 and avoided a government shutdown advances several key priorities for Western Maryland.
“The American people are tired of lurching from government crisis to government crisis. While this spending bill is far from perfect, I am pleased at how it funds many of the programs and initiatives important to Western Maryland,” U.S. Senator Ben Cardin said. “Maryland will benefit greatly from the targeted investments of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which was appropriated $90 million. Federal investments in ARC empower infrastructure projects and promote public health, public safety, education and so much more, while creating local jobs. Of that ARC funding, $10 million has been allocated to bringing broadband to areas in Western Maryland. With broadband will come increased educational and economic opportunities.
“Maryland’s economy and 350,000 jobs rely on having a thriving agriculture industry. This bill prevents 250 Farm Service Agency local offices from facing a potential closure, including several in Maryland. The FSA plays a vital role in ensuring Western Maryland landscapes are productive and sustainable. The Economic Development Administration also received $250 million to promote job growth and workforce development across the country and in Western Maryland. I also was very pleased to see the National Cancer Institute receive a total of $4.95 billion, including $8 million for repairs and improvements to its facility in Frederick.
“Tourism is another vital part of the Western Maryland economy. I was a proud co-sponsor of the Brand USA Act, which was authorized in this package. Brand USA is a public-private partnership that promotes international tourism. It has been responsible for bringing 1.1 million tourists to the United States and generating $32 million in revenue.
“The Appalachian Trail also received $240,000 in funding for trail construction in six states. And more than $144 million will go toward making sure that smaller airports, including Hagerstown Regional Airport and Frederick Municipal Airport, will have the assurance that safety will not be compromised and their air traffic control towers will remain staffed and opened.”