ANNAPOLIS – Education funding, environmental protection, economic development and crime control took center stage as Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening introduced his 1998 capital budget Tuesday.
The $740 million budget reinforces the priorities set forth in the governor’s State of the State address last week.
“This capital budget, our operating budget, and our legislative package work hand-in-hand to make Maryland the best state to work, raise a child and build a family,” Glendening said at a news conference in the Statehouse.
Citing the importance of preparing students for “jobs in the 21st century which we can not even imagine,” the governor announced that $287 million was earmarked for education.
This includes $138 million for school construction and renovation. Glendening said this money would help to improve schools in older neighborhoods, rather than encouraging urban sprawl by building new schools in new developments.
“We must make our older schools as good as our newest schools by providing them with modern science laboratories, state-of-the art information technology and computers,” Glendening said.
Education funding accounted for 39 percent of total capital budget expenditures, the largest of all categories.
The state’s colleges and universities netted $154 million — including $1.2 million to design a new basketball arena to replace the 1950s-era Cole Field House at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Under Glendening’s plan, the state also would provide $198 million for environmental protection and conservation. Included in that figure would be $15.5 million to implement the Rural Legacy Program, an initiative protecting 12,000 acres of agricultural lands and open spaces from development.
Portions of these funds would also be used to improve the quality of drinking water and to give local governments money for land acquisition and recreational improvements.
“It is up to each of us to leave our natural resources better off for future generations of Marylanders,” Glendening said.
The state’s small businesses stand to gain $37 million under the proposed capital budget. Calling small businesses “the machines that drive the state’s economy,” Glendening set aside $30 million to assist firms in three categories: high-tech enterprises, minority-owned businesses and small businesses. He earmarked $7 million for the Neighborhood Development Program, which will assist small business expansion and encourage community revitalization.
In keeping with his commitment to get violent criminals off the streets, Glendening’s budget proposal provides $57.9 million for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Anne Arundel, Carroll, Prince George’s and Worcester counties could get $18.4 to expand dention centers. Cumberland’s Western Correctional Institute could get $12 million to construct additional cells to house 384 violent criminals.
The proposal now goes to the General Assembly, which must act on it by the session’s last day, April 7.
Here are region-by-region details of Glendening’s plan:
Washington, D.C., Suburbs:
* University of Maryland at College Park, various projects – $12.9 million.
* Prince George’s County Detention Center expansion, $7.7 million.
* Hillcrest Heights Elementary School (Prince George’s County), $3.3 million.
* Montgomery Blair High School, $3 million.
* Northeast Area High School (Montgomery County), $2 million.
* Rolling Terrace Elementary School (Montgomery County) $1.5 million.
* Kent Island High School (Queen Anne’s County), $2.1 million.
* Cecilton Elementary School (Cecil County), $1.7 million.
* Eastern Shore Hospital Center replacement (Dorchester County), $1.6 million.
* Wicomico Teen-Adult Center, $1.6 million.
* North Caroline High School, $1.2 million.
* Worcester County Detention Center, 60-Bed expansion, $1 million.
* Morgan State University, new Fine Arts Center and Hill Field House, $27.5 million.
* University of Maryland Baltimore County, various projects, $24.7 million.
* University of Maryland at Baltimore, new Physics Building and renovation of Biological Sciences buildings, $17.9 million.
* Towson State University, various projects, $11.1 million.
* Jennifer Road Detention Center expansion and renovation (Anne Arundel County), $8.4 million.
* Maryland Correctional Institute for Women, replacement housing (Anne Arundel), $6.6 million.
* Community College Library (Harford County), $3.8 million.
* Churchville Elementary School (Harford County), $1.7 million.
* Wilde Lake Elementary School (Howard County), $1 million.
* Southeastern Middle School (Howard County), $2 million.
* Appalachian Environmental Laboratory (Allegany County), $14.7 million.
* Western Correctional Institution, various projects, (Allegany County), $12.2 million.
* Community College Business & Technology Center (Frederick County), $3.1 million.
* Deer Crossing Elementary School (Frederick County), $2.3 million.
* Public Safety Training Center (Carroll County), $4.7 million.
* Linton Springs Elementary School (Carroll County), $2.1 million.
* Lincolnshire Elementary School (Washington County), $1.5 million.
* Swallow Falls State Park (Garrett County), $381,000
* Northern Middle School (Garrett County), $264,000 -30-