By Kate Alexander
WASHINGTON – Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley laid out $62.8 million in city priorities for the state’s congressional delegation Wednesday, topped by his proposal to develop the city as a “Digital Harbor.”
But O’Malley also brought less-glamorous wish list to the annual meeting with the state’s delegation on Capitol Hill, asking for federal funding to boost transit and improve sewers in the city.
O’Malley said after the meeting that he was asking for federal help specifically for the “investments in Baltimore that are turning our city around,” citing economic development and public safety as primary among those investments.
The economic development portion of his plan entailed $19.3 million for the development of infrastructure for the “Digital Harbor,” the city’s moniker for its plans to establish Baltimore as a technology hub.
One of the linchpins of those plans is the development of the vacant AlliedSignal property between Fort McHenry and downtown. The mayor’s office said the federal money would be used to build a new President Street drawbridge connecting Inner Harbor East and Harbor Point, a harbor water taxi and construction of the Digital Harbor Promenade, which would stretch from Canton to the Inner Harbor.
The mayor also asked for $2 million for police cadets and $5 million for new law enforcement technology, such as surveillance and communication interception equipment.
“The police department has been flat on its back when it comes to technology,” O’Malley said, but the city has only been able to contributed $200,000 to police technology. Federal funds would greatly increase the city’s ability to battle the violent crime rate, he said.
O’Malley also requested:
— $15 million for various public transportation projects for both bus and rail.
— $12 million for sewer reconstruction.
— $5 million for lead-paint abatement programs.
— and $4.5 million for social services, including drug treatment centers and HIV/AIDS prevention.
The 90-minute meeting was attended by every member of the state’s delegation except for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick, most of whom scurried afterward. But Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Baltimore, stopped long enough to say that she is very optimistic for the city.