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Here's How Maryland Will Use Federal COVID Relief Funding To Help Struggling Residents, Businesses

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday a bipartisan-supported plan to use the $3.9 billion Maryland is expected to receive from the federal government to help recover after the coronavirus pandemic.

Hogan was joined by state leaders to announce how those funds will be invested into the state's unemployment program, small businesses, infrastructure, schools and help struggling Maryland families.

"I'm pleased to announce today that we have once again reached an historic bipartisan agreement on a fiscally responsible budget accord, which effectively targets relief to Marylanders most in need," Hogan said.

Here's how the state plans to spend the money from the federal government:

  • $1.1 billion to go help replenish the state's unemployment insurance trust fund keeping it solvent and stabilizing unemployment insurance rates for at least the next two calendar years.
  • $800 million added to Maryland Emergency Economic Relief Programs to provide for additional tax relief and economic stimulus for Marylanders in need.
  • $600 million safe reopening of schools addressing pandemic-related education costs, including the long term impacts of learning loss and to fund additional improvements to HVAC, ventilation and filtration systems for safer school buildings.
  • $300 million will be invested in game-changing broadband technology initiative, which will enable us to finally provide the infrastructure and technical assistance to ensure that every single Marylander has access to high speed internet in every corner of the state.
  • $100 million added to state's employment training and apprenticeship programs
  • $100 million with support dedicated state employees who have been providing essential services throughout the pandemic.
  • $500 million will be invested in infrastructure and transit improvements at the Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transportation Authority.
  • $300 million to allow state to provide critical lifeline for struggling Marylanders, including for low income households with utility bills. The temporary cash assistance program, as well as temporary disability insurance payments.

"I want to very sincerely thank President [Bill] Ferguson. Speaker[Adrienne] Jones, the budget chairs in the House and in the Senate for working together with Secretary Brinkley and our entire budget team in order to reach agreement on this historic budget accord," Hogan added. "With today's announcement, Maryland has once again shown the nation that people from different parties can still come together and we can put the people's priorities first and that we can deliver real bipartisan common sense solutions to the serious problems that face us."

The investment in broadband infrastructure is one of the most important, according to Ferguson, who said for far too many Marylanders the transition to virtual learning or work has not been easy due to a lack of technical infrastructure or access was not there.

"As we think about this transition that all of us have faced, I will speak to the Marylanders who felt like technology allowed him to be able to continue your work or your school or social interactions through all of this," he said. "If that happened, you should feel lucky. If you have not had to think about whether or not you can connect, but that you only had to focus on the struggles of finding the right link or using the right software or making sure that your device had enough power -- you're one of the lucky ones."

Speaker Jones highlighted construction projects that will also be funded with the help this money and create jobs.

"We will be able to invest an additional half a billion dollars in shovel ready construction projects to get Marylanders back to work," Jones said. "Outdoor recreational opportunities have been a lifeline for so many during this pandemic. So I'm pleased that we are funding park and playground projects in every single county in this state. Workforce training and helping students recover from the COVID slide were also top priorities for the House Appropriations Committee in this process."

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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