Congressional bills will fund military and community projects in Harford County

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Dec. 29—Three Harford County projects will receive funding from a spending bill passed by Congress last week. The bill was submitted to President Joe Biden on Wednesday and is awaiting his signature.

Aberdeen Proving Ground will receive $7.6 million for a new test fabrication facility; $4 million will go to renovating Aberdeen's Amtrak/MARC station; and the Ashley Addiction Treatment Center will receive $420,000 to teach Harford County secondary education students about substance misuse.

As part of the $1.7 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, $28.3 million will go to 15 Baltimore-area community projects as requested by Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, according to a news release.

"This bill will fulfill many of our basic community needs and sends a clear message to constituents that Congress is listening," Ruppersberger, the District 2 Democrat, said in the release.

Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady said the $4 million for the Amtrak/MARC station will fund the implementation of the 2012 Station Square project, including the design and engineering plans for the removal of a concrete structure built in the 1970s to prevent people from being hit by a train but now divides the city. Widening the tunnel, allowing people to pass between sides of the tracks, will also be part of the project.

"This is just one more arrow in the quiver of economic development to make our community a better place for the folks who live here," McGrady said.

McGrady said the completion of the designs are necessary to determine funding needed for the construction in this part of the project.

Aberdeen Proving Ground will receive an additional $37.6 million for a fabrication facility from the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law Dec. 23, according to a news release from Sen. Chris Van Hollen.

The defense bill also includes language supporting the demolition of contaminated facilities at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edgewood Area.

"These contaminated, unused chemical testing facilities endanger readiness and cost more to maintain in the long term than they will cost to demolish," Van Hollen said in the release.

A 4.6% pay raise for military and Department of Defense civilian employees, and investments in health and child care benefits are included in the bill, which "will improve the quality of life of the people who support our nation's defense," Van Hollen said.

"This law supports our service members, bolsters our security both at home and abroad, and advances important defense projects across our state," he said.