For months, The Baltimore Sun editorial board has relentlessly criticized my administration’s agenda — even going so far as to suggest that we hold up a critical infrastructure project for the region until we spend more money on Baltimore. This completely ignores the fact that we are already providing historically high funding for Baltimore across the board.
It’s time to set the record straight.
Fact: We have committed a record $6.32 billion in direct aid to Baltimore City, funded 405 capital projects for $1.37 billion, and provided more than $1 billion for public safety and crime control efforts. Baltimore City receives more than $5,000 more in per-pupil aid than the average statewide, 10 times more for transportation grants than any other jurisdiction, as well as more for crime and drug enforcement grants, health grants and Head Start than any other jurisdiction.
Fact: Baltimore City receives more than 60% of the state’s total transportation grants. We are investing nearly $4.2 billion in Baltimore City transportation projects, most of which goes to transit. Critical projects include reconstructing the I-895 bridge, widening the Baltimore Beltway, reconfiguring the interchange at I-695 and I-70, improving transit access to job centers such as the Amazon distribution warehouse, building seven more miles of bus lanes through the North Avenue project and overhauling MARC trains, light rail trains and Metro Subway railcars.
Fact: We have committed $4.75 billion to K-12 education in Baltimore City — fully funding education above and beyond any legislative mandates. No Maryland governor has ever invested more. Baltimore City schools are the third highest funded school system in the nation among the 100 biggest public education systems. Our administration has been leading the charge for real accountability and results-driven reforms in local schools.
Fact: Our administration has assisted in bringing more than 100 projects to Baltimore City, investing more than $300 million in capital expenditures. We pushed to establish 42 opportunity zones in Baltimore City — again, more than any other jurisdiction. Through Project C.O.R.E., we are removing more than 4,000 units of blight and leveraging $1.8 billion in private and public investment. The Howard Street Tunnel project will expand capacity at the Port of Baltimore, creating thousands more jobs in the city. I was an early strong endorser of Baltimore City’s bid to be the home of Amazon’s HQ2, when Montgomery County was also in the running. The Sun editorial board’s criticism goes well beyond this issue. It has also accused the state of insufficiently funding historically black colleges and universities when, in reality, our administration is funding HBCUs at record levels. In fact, a court found that the HBCUs are now funded at a higher level than other state schools. We also increased the state’s proposal to end a 13-year-long lawsuit involving HBCUs, offering 500% more than the best offer of the O’Malley administration.
Lastly, the editorial board continues to portray me as an opponent of Kirwan education reforms. Our administration supported the commission’s initial recommendations and approved the first year of funding. But when I point out that legislators offer no proposals for funding Kirwan’s multi-billion price tag, and that there is the potential for massive, billion-dollar tax increases at both the state and local levels, I am vilified — simply for being honest with taxpayers.
These distortions of the truth do readers of The Sun a great disservice.
The writer is the governor of Maryland.