Friday, May 8–Funding For WOC Projects OK’d

OCEAN CITY – State officials this week announced a roughly $6 million fiscal shot in the arm for dozens of waterway enhancement projects across Maryland including several in and around the resort area.

Gov. Martin O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly have approved $5 million in state Waterway Improvement Funds and an additional $1 million in anticipated federal funds in the fiscal year 2010 budget to improve public boating access and support boating safety projects in waterways across the state. Some of the approved projects include dredging local navigation channels, developing and maintaining public boating access facilities, acquiring fire and rescue patrol boats and installing marine sewage pump out stations.

All in all, 60 projects in practically every jurisdiction in the state are targeted to receive the funding including five in Worcester County totaling around $325,000. Included among the projects earmarked for the state and federal funds in the county is $25,000 for the renovation of the Natural Resources Police (NRP) boathouse on the commercial harbor in West Ocean City.

Sticking in the same area, another $50,000 is included in the waterways spending plan for replacing the existing public boat ramps and providing floating docks in the commercial harbor in West Ocean City. Providing funds for new fire and rescue patrol boats throughout the state is included in the state and federal waterways project plan, and Ocean City is earmarked to receive $50,000 for the acquisition of a new vessel.

Other expenditures planned include $150,000 to pave the parking lot at the Shad Landing Park Marina in the Pocomoke River State Park. Finally, the proposed spending plan includes an additional $50,000 for Worcester to provide general maintenance and repairs at various public boat ramps and facilities throughout the county.

"Working together with our local governments, these projects are supporting the infrastructure Maryland needs for a vibrant boating community while ensuring all Maryland families have the opportunity to enjoy our waterways," said O’Malley.

All boats titled in Maryland are subjected to a 5-percent vessel excise tax that fuels the state’s Waterway Improvement Fund. The funds are used to provide grants and loans to local, state and federal agencies for a wide variety of projects and activities.

"The 60 projects selected will surely have a positive impact on the lives of Marylanders as they utilize and enjoy our spectacular waterways," said DNR Secretary John Griffin.