- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2003

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski said yesterday that Congress has included nearly $240 million in its fiscal 2003 appropriations bill to improve several Prince George's County public-safety and economic-development projects, including an upgrade of the outdated federal Census Bureau office in Suitland.
The funds were included in a $397 billion omnibus bill, signed last night by President Bush, to fund every area of the U.S. government but the Pentagon for the 2003 fiscal year.
Miss Mikulski told County Executive Jack B. Johnson and others that the omnibus appropriations bill also includes money for the Washington-area sniper investigation, a $225,000 grant for a Suitland community center and $60 million to complete the Metro system's Blue Line to Largo.
Mr. Johnson called Miss Mikulski "a real friend" to residents and said, "We have a senator who really cares about the people of Prince George's County and across the state."
The Census Bureau is the sixth-largest employer in Prince George's County. Almost 4,000 employees work there, and construction of a new building is scheduled for completion within five years.
Miss Mikulski said the building is outdated and full of asbestos, and the $176.9 million upgrade will help create architectural and engineering jobs.
"We want it to be a magnet for other jobs," she said.
Miss Mikulski said the federal government will reimburse Montgomery and Prince George's counties nearly $1 million for the police investigation of sniper slayings that occurred in October.
Prince George's County will receive $232,000 to help cover overtime and other expenses.
Miss Mikulski said the appropriations bill also includes $225,000 to improve information technology at the Suitland Technology Center and $60 million to extend the Metro subway line from Addison Road to the Largo Town Center.
The 3.1-mile extension is scheduled for completion by the end of next year, said Lisa Farbstein, a Metro spokeswoman. It would be the system's first reach beyond the Capital Beltway in Prince George's County.
The Route 1 corridor, which passes through some of Prince George's County's oldest commercial districts, will receive $450,000 to develop a museum, a theater and affordable housing, as included in the bill. The county would also get $248,000 to analyze flood protection and environmental issues around the Anacostia River and the county levee.


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