It's nice that Sen. Wayne Norman, who represents northern Harford and western Cecil counties, is able to pat Gov. Larry Hogan on the back for allocating $1.97 billion for road work across Maryland, but the senator needs to look beyond Republican Party fraternalism.

Norman made a legitimate point last week when he pointed out that Hogan's funding plan for work on highways and bridges has been a long time coming. Hogan's predecessor, Gov. Martin O'Malley, did fall short on infrastructure funding, choosing to use money that was supposed to have been allocated to such projects on other things.

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"He's trying to fix up the infrastructure that O'Malley let fall apart in the last eight years," Norman said of his fellow Republican's recently unveiled transportation spending plan. It's true enough that O'Malley spent transportation money on things other than transportation, but then again, so did his predecessor, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. The reality is infrastructure has been a low priority at the state level for 12 years, but Ehrlich is a Republican so it's natural that Norman would be inclined to look back only eight, rather than 12 years.

More importantly at the present time – not eight or 12 years in the past – and at a location where Norman should be focusing his attentions, Harford County stands to see relatively little of that $1.97 billion the governor plans to spend on transportation projects.

This is unfortunate in the extreme not simply because Harford County isn't getting infrastructure money even as counties in the Washington, D.C., suburbs are receiving money. Harford County should have been the recipient of a substantial sum of money under both the Ehrlich and O'Malley administrations to pay for road and rail upgrades in the Aberdeen Proving Ground area because the post has been undergoing what was supposed to have been a period of major growth.

The unfortunate reality is much of the state's effort at upgrading roadways was focused on the Fort Meade area, where federally mandated expansion was announced at the same time as it was for APG.

APG, meanwhile, didn't see as much expansion as had been expected, just as it didn't see the off-post infrastructure improvements that had been anticipated. The growth that didn't materialize on both fronts can be blamed on a terrible national economy, one which resulted in substantial cutbacks in federal spending on defense, as well as the weak state spending on infrastructure.

As a result, APG is in a relatively weak position should another round of federal base closures be in the offing.

All the state's elected officials, regardless of party, need to be more focused on such things. If Aberdeen Proving Ground ends up going away or shrinking, the state's economy will suffer, and that is a reality that will affect people regardless of how they vote.

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