WASHINGTON – Maryland officials sent Washington a request for more than $400 million Friday, what it hopes will be the first installment in federal support for the state’s fight against terrorism.
The list was delivered just one day after Gov. Parris Glendening met with leaders of the state’s biggest jurisdictions and promised to help counties and cities lobby the federal government for the money they will need for homeland security.
“This is to give the Congress a sense of the magnitude of the needs in Maryland,” said Mike Morrill, a spokesman for the governor. “We have some very specific requests that we’d like to see funded if we have a chance.”
Maryland’s wish list included funds both to fight terrorism and to boost the economy. The state is asking for about $128 million while the combined request from local governments totaled $284 million.
State government officials included a request for $29 million that would be spent on aviation security, $14 million for health care and $18 million would be spent on mass transit. The state would also allocate $14 million to highway safety and $13 million to bridge and tunnel safety.
Among local governments, Prince George’s County requested $156 million and Anne Arundel asked for $20 million. Morrill said the remaining counties asked for a total of $108 million.
Members of the state’s congressional delegation said they would consider the requests but made no promises Friday. The detailed list was hand-carried or faxed to the members, many of whom have still not been allowed back in their Capitol Hill offices because of anthrax contamination.
“Right now, we are reviewing the request put forward by the state,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, in a prepared statement.
“We will see what kind of help the federal government can provide, because we know that Maryland has been at the center of recent events and has some needs in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” his statement said.
Maryland’s request comes at a time when many states are scrambling to apply for federal funds that would come from the sweeping anti-terrorism law that was recently passed and from an economic stimulus package that is working its way through Congress.
The scope of state and local need for homeland security is still undetermined. The National Governor’s Association said it is polling its members on how much they have spent since Sept. 11 and how much they think they will need in the future.
Results of that poll are expected by Nov. 9, said Ann Beauchesne, the association’s program director for emergency management and environment.