- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

The $410 billion spending bill signed by President Obama Wednesday includes $59 million to help the District, Maryland and Virginia pay for expenses related to the new president’s January inaugural fete.

Estimates for the inauguration’s total cost were projected as high as $170 million. Maryland and Virginia will have access to $20 million in the omnibus bill, which will be doled out to state and local governments through a Department of Justice grant program “for extraordinary costs associated with the 2009 Presidential Inauguration,” according to the legislation.

Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, said Maryland’s share of the funding is $7.5 million.

Mr. O’Malley signed a joint letter in December with fellow Democrats Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty that said the state would need more than $12 million for the inauguration, because of cost-drivers like providing law enforcement, emergency medical services and transportation.

But Mr. Adamec said Wednesday that the state’s initial estimate “was based on the worst-case scenario in terms of what Maryland could have needed.”

Mr. Kaine’s office said in January that the state would ask federal officials for $7 million to pay for inauguration expenses.

Kaine spokesman Gordon Hickey said Wednesday that the state is awaiting standards from the Justice Department that will determine how much reimbursement funding Virginia is eligible to receive.

“The state of Virginia will do all it can to comply with whatever the criteria are from the Department of Justice,” Mr. Hickey said.

The District - which served as ground zero for security and events surrounding Mr. Obama’s Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony - will receive the bulk of the reimbursement funding contained in the omnibus bill with $39 million.

The city in December had projected its inauguration-related costs to balloon past $47 million, largely because officials estimated that it would take more than $28 million to provide law-enforcement services during the events, which included a concert on the National Mall, numerous inaugural balls and Mr. Obama’s taking the oath of office.

The Metropolitan Police Department served as the lead local agency in support of the U.S. Secret Service to help secure the events, and roughly 2 million people attended Mr. Obama’s swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol.

The city previously had only a $15 million federal appropriation to help foot its share of the bill.

Metro - which reported a record 1.1 million trips on its rail lines on Inauguration Day - also will attempt to get some of the funding, agency spokeswoman Cathy Asato said.

“We’re going to work with local governments to get that reimbursement,” she said.

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