O'Malley Expects Federal Help With Inauguration Costs

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By Leonard Sparks
Capital News Service
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

WASHINGTON - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said he is hopeful the federal government will reimburse the state for the $11 million to $13 million it is expected to spend managing traffic and security for the inauguration of Barack Obama and the president-elect's visit to Baltimore.

O'Malley joined D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine at a Tuesday news conference where they urged that people coming to the District for the inauguration on Jan. 20 plan ahead and expect delays entering and leaving the city.

About 2 million people are expected for Obama's swearing-in, an inaugural parade from Capitol Hill to the White House and numerous balls and other events. Another 150,000 are expected when Obama stops Saturday in Baltimore as part of his whistle-stop train tour to Washington.

In a letter to their congressional delegations earlier this month, O'Malley, Fenty and Kaine estimated that the inauguration will cost Maryland, the District and Virginia $75 million, including money for extra law enforcement personnel and expanded bus and rail service. The District, which already received $15 million for inauguration expenses, estimates that it will spend $47 million.

Virginia projects costs greater than $16 million.

On Tuesday, President Bush ordered additional federal funding for the District after declaring an emergency because of the inaugural.

O'Malley said he has spoken personally with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and "traded a couple of calls" with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., about federal reimbursement.

"I think it's safe to say most people were somewhat taken aback that there had not been a provision made in the federal budget for the inauguration as there was for the Republican and Democratic national conventions," O'Malley said. "I think that they understand that needs to be addressed."

Maryland is contributing about 600 public safety personnel from about 17 different agencies, O'Malley said. In addition, about 3,000 members of the Maryland National Guard will be deployed in the District on the day of the inauguration.

With access for private vehicles sharply restricted and parking limited, travel into the District through Maryland and Virginia will be mostly limited to public transportation, including buses, taxis and the Metrorail system.

"This is not a typical day in our country's history. This is not a typical crowd," O'Malley said. "This is not like throwing the family in the van and heading down for a visit at the (National) Air and Space Museum."

For those traveling from Maryland:

  • MARC tickets for Inauguration Day are sold out. On Jan. 19 and Jan. 20, the Maryland Transit Administration will offer shuttle service from nine park-and-ride lots in Maryland to five suburban D.C. Metro stations: Branch Avenue, Greenbelt, New Carrollton, Silver Spring and Shady Grove. Roundtrip tickets cost $10 and are available the day of travel.
  • High Occupancy Vehicle lane restrictions are in effect for Interstate 270 and U.S. Route 50 on Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.
  • Those not traveling to the District should avoid Interstate 495. Alternative routes include: Interstate 81 to the west; and Interstate 97, U.S. Route 301 and U.S. Route 13 to the east.

Copyright 2009 University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism

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