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City to get $780K from Omnibus Bill

March 24, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown will receive $780,000 from the federal Omnibus Bill, which was passed by Congress earlier this month.

The office of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., announced in a Friday press release that the money would be used for the following three projects:

o $380,000 for the widening and grade separation of Eastern Boulevard between Md. 64 and Antietam Drive

o $300,000 to improve the city's drinking water system

o $100,000 to increase minority and women-owned businesses by expanding outreach, training and other assistance by the City of Hagerstown.

Bartlett spokeswoman Lisa Wright said Bartlett voted against the $410 billion Omnibus Bill, but as a courtesy made the funding requests on behalf of city officials.

"As a conservative, I vote for a smaller federal government budget because I understand that the federal government doesn't have any money," Bartlett said in the press release. "All of the money the federal government spends is earned by the people, and taken from taxpayers or borrowed. I also work to get the greatest share of whatever spending is approved for projects in the 6th District.

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"Unfortunately, there was no transparency about projects that were included in the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations law," Bartlett said in the release. "The Democratic Congressional majority leadership drew up these bills in secret. The bill ended up being more than a thousand pages long. The bill was made available to other members and the public just before midnight, less than 12 hours before the vote was scheduled."

Hagerstown City Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the city was able to secure the money from the Omnibus Bill because of a joint effort among city and federal officials, and The Ferguson Group, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm the City Council hired last year.

Metzner said people from the local business community also played an integral part in getting the money.

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