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Mayor seeks $150M from Md. in response to Hogan's pledge to help Baltimore

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan seeking $150 million in state aid over the next five years after the governor penned an opinion piece in The Sun saying he wanted to help Baltimore.

"Today I wrote to put forth a partnership proposal based not only on my experiences of successes and challenges running the City; but more importantly, based on the first-hand knowledge of what my City needs right now," the mayor wrote. The $150 million in state aid would be dedicated to workforce training and re-entry services; economic and community development; public transportation; health; and recreation and parks, said Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat.

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Last month, Hogan, a Republican, wrote an opinion piece for The Sun entitled "The Economic Engine of Maryland." In it, he pledged to announce a "series of innovative ideas that have the potential to deliver real change" for Baltimore by demolishing vacant properties, stimulating job growth and improving transportation and education.

"I love Baltimore and the people who call it home, and I sincerely believe that Maryland's biggest city must serve as the economic and cultural heart of our state," Hogan wrote.

Rawlings-Blake's letter asks Hogan to invest more money in the mayor's Vacants to Value program, which seeks to revitalize vacant properties; supply more funding for the Mayor's Office of Economic Development; fund new transportation projects to help make up for the Red Line's cancellation; and restore $11 million for city schools cut from the state budget.

Among the transportation projects Rawlings-Blake wants funded are an alternative east-west transit plan to the Red Line, an extension of the Green Line to Morgan State University and new MARC stations in Madison Square and Upton.

Doug Mayer, a spokesman for Hogan, said the governor has received the mayor's letter. Mayer said Hogan and Rawlings-Blake have the same overall objectives, but the governor did not immediately commit to any additional funding.

"Clearly the governor and the Mayor are committed to many of the same goals, whether it is much needed blight reduction, economic development, lasting improvements in the city's transit system, addressing the heroin epidemic or working to support public charter schools to ensure that every child has access to a great education," Mayer said in a statement. "For Maryland to be successful Baltimore has to be successful and the governor is dedicated to moving forward with affordable, common sense solutions to the city's challenges."

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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