‘We got it all’: Why Prince George’s Co. leaders are celebrating Maryland’s new state budget

When it came time to talk money, lawmakers in Maryland warned that there wasn’t much available and that expectations needed to be kept low this year and in the future.

But as a sometimes difficult negotiation in Annapolis culminated with a compromise that didn’t require overtime, leaders from Prince George’s County said the session ended with nearly every financial ask tucked into the budget heading to Gov. Wes Moore’s desk.

“I think we got it all,” said County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who gathered with leaders from the county’s legislative delegation after the session came to a close.

“It is an astonishing number of successful outcomes that we’ve seen for Prince George’s. This is a winning year in a really tough, tough economic environment,” Alsobrooks said.

Money for health care

The first subject Alsobrooks wanted to talk about was the millions in state money going to help the county improve health care access and infrastructure. Citing statistics, such as how the county is short more than a thousand doctors and that 80% of the county residents having babies end up delivering them outside the county, Alsobrooks said the investments included in this budget will help to ease some of those burdens.

“The hospital in the southern part of the county (Adventist Healthcare in Fort Washington) had about 30 beds. And we recognize that we have the same volume of people living in that area basically … we had 30 beds in places where they had 400 in Montgomery County to serve the same population of people,” Alsobrooks said. “We were able to get $10 million to assist with construction funding for a new facility in the southern part of the county.”

The county also secured state funding worth $19 million to help Luminis expand a women’s health care facility in Lanham, which will include OB-GYNs, an OB-GYN surgical unit and more facilities to help women and babies.

“One of the things that physicians told us that was very disturbing … is that they are seeing women who came to them to deliver babies who had had one prenatal appointment. And we know that leads to really poor outcomes for so many of our children and their families,” Alsobrooks said. “So that women’s health tower is huge.”

Millions of dollars more are also going to other health care facilities around the county, including Greater Baden Medical Services.

Funds for economic development, enticing the Commanders

On the economic development front, Alsobrooks touted $100 million in funding to help the state relocate the FBI’s headquarters to Greenbelt.

That money will go toward site preparation, new exits off the Capital Beltway and other road improvements.

There’s also money to help with the demolition of the old Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, where a multibillion dollar redevelopment project is well into the planning stages.

Funding for projects along the Blue Line corridor are also included. A new pavilion in Largo is getting more than $16 million, while the state will also help fund upgrades around the Addison Road Metro station in Capitol Heights. That includes road improvements running past there along Central Avenue, which will also make that stretch of road safer for bicycles and pedestrian activity.

The Blue Line corridor improvements remain the top economic development priority for Alsobrooks, but there’s hope it will also help convince the new owners of the Washington Commanders to remain in Prince George’s County past the expiration of the team’s lease in 2027.

“We’re continuing to make investments around the FedEx Field stadium, so I think it makes that whole area more and more valuable,” said Alsobrooks. “As we’ve said from the beginning, we are one way or the other moving forward on the Blue Line corridor, so that the people who live in and around that FedEx area will enjoy the amenities that they deserve. We’re making the investments no matter what.”

Alsobrooks said the investment would make the area more attractive for the Commanders to stay.

The county, Alsobrooks said, is following its plan, which has always been to “not be held hostage by whatever the Commander’s decided.”

She said the county wanted to invest in the people who live in the community “no matter what.”

“We want the Commanders to stay. We think it’s a great investment for them, but we’re going to make sure it’s a good investment for the people who live in those areas,” Alsobrooks said.

In recent weeks, there has also been talk about state spending on development around Pimlico, the northwest Baltimore horse track that hosts the Preakness every year.

The new budget also includes $3.1 million for Rosecroft Raceway in Temple Hills, as well as $5 million to turn the old Fairmont Heights High School into a new film studio and soundstage in the hopes of luring more film crews from Hollywood to the D.C. area.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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