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Maryland Senate backs infusion of money for Pride of Baltimore II

The Maryland Senate voted unanimously Monday night to dedicate $500,000 a year for the operations of the Pride of Baltimore II, a replica version of a 19th century Baltimore clipper that has sailed the world to promote the city.

Last month, the Pride of Baltimore Inc. executive director said the ship would be unable to sail this year unless it could raise $500,000.

The money would come from the state’s Transportation Trust Fund rather than the annual operating budget. An identical bill is pending in a House committee.

Gov. Larry Hogan has allotted $500,000 out of the fund for the budget year that starts July 1, but there is currently no provision for funding beyond then. The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer of Howard County in the Senate and Democratic Del. Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore in the House, would continue the funding indefinitely.

The Pride of Baltimore II was launched in 1998 as a replacement for the Pride of Baltimore, which was launched in 1977 but sank in the Caribbean Sea in 1986 with the loss of four lives.

The ship has an annual budget of about $1.2 million, including the state funds and money raised from donations, grants, appearance fees, souvenir sales and tickets for day sails.

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