In January, 2016, Maryland Governor Hogan announced an investment of $53 million for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund and $60 million over two years for land acquisition and preservation programs.
This marks the first time in state history that revenue dedicated for Chesapeake Bay restoration was not diverted to the General Fund. In addition, the governor’s budget blueprint phases out planned financial transfers from land conservation and preservation programs, including Program Open Space.
The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund helps Maryland accelerate bay restoration goals by focusing its resources on the most cost-effective restoration projects. To date, the fund has directed $295 million to more than 1,850 projects aimed at reducing harmful nutrient and sediment runoff into the bay. The budget would provide the highest level of funding for the trust fund since its formation.
Land acquisition, conservation, preservation and recreation programs, such as Program Open Space, are typically funded by the transfer tax and in the past have seen significant withdrawals to cover other administrative and legislative priorities. Those withdrawals will lessen under the budget and eventually end under new authorizing legislation.
Additional Budget Highlights:
$4.5 million increase in funding Waterway Improvement Capital projects
$1.7 million increase in state park funding
staff postions for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park
$11 million for a new Animal Waste-to-Energy Program, which will help support implementation of Maryland’s Phosphorous Management Tool
$85 million to address stormwater management needs of state highways
source: State of Maryland