Prince George's Wants Say in Fed Funds
Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson, members of the County Council, and county delegates and senators met with Gov. Martin O'Malley behind closed doors this morning in Annapolis.
Their message: We want a say in how to distribute federal funds approved as part of a stimulus package proposed by President-elect Barack Obama.
Still smarting from massive cuts in state funding for road projects which they felt hit Prince George's harder than other counties, the Prince Georgians apparently told O'Malley they would like to help draw up a list of county road projects that could be funded with the new federal dollars, if and when they are approved.
Emerging from the meeting, Johnson told our colleague Lisa Rein that the priority would be projects that could get underway within 180 days, followed by those ready to go in two to three years.
"We wanted to emphasize to the governor that we want to work internally to determine which roads are designed to foster economic development and place a priority on those," Johnson said. "We're emphasizing that we have a tremendous role to play."
On another topic, Johnson declined to answer questions about his recent trip to Africa, but indicated his staffers are putting together information about the trip, including how it was funded, and the information would be released this afternoon. He said he wants to be transparent about the trip.
But this afternoon, Johnson's spokesman James P. Keary said no information would be released today, and that Johnson would not answer questions about the trip until Thursday.
Johnson returned this weekend from a two week trade mission to Africa. His aides have so far been unable to give a complete list of county employees who accompanied him, an itinerary that includes all the countries visited nor confirm whether taxpayers financed the trip.
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