WASHINGTON — When Gov. Larry Hogan (R) walked out of his meeting with Maryland’s Congressional Delegation last week it seemed it could not have gone better — at least that’s what he said.
Speaking at a brief press conference, Hogan and the delegation gave the impression after the meeting that their party affiliation did not matter.
Like political allies, each Maryland politician repeated and reiterated their shared priorities and objectives — to save the state from a slew of federal cuts to the management of the Chesapeake Bay, healthcare, and transportation.
“I think it was a very productive meeting on really important shared priorities that are important to the people of Maryland,” Hogan said.
Perhaps odd in Washington or Annapolis, Hogan and the almost exclusively Democratic Maryland Congressional Delegation said they were on the same page on the issues of the day — issues important to “Team Maryland.”
Among the top issues the group discussed was funding for Metro.
Recently Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia each separately came to an agreement to provide the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority with dedicated funding. Although the three jurisdictions — Maryland, D.C, and Virginia — have all agreed to kick in permanent, reliable funding for Metro, the federal government has yet to do the same.
While Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has asked each of three jurisdictions for a source of dedicated funding, Hogan has often pointed the blame at the federal government for not doing its fair share. “We want more help from the federal government — that’s on both sides of Downtown Washington,” said Hogan, referring to the lack of help coming from both Congress and the White House.
While Congress went against Trump’s recommended cuts to Metro, federal funding for the system is set to expire soon. In 2008, Congress agreed to give Metro $150 million a year in funding for 10 years. Those federal funds are set to expire this year unless Congress agrees to continue them
“They only need to reauthorize it,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) of the federal government’s funding bill for Metro. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said there was bipartisan support to reauthorize funding for Metro in the Senate, but he did not say whether that bill was likely to pass.
Metro was among other issues on which Hogan and the Congressional Delegation were on the same page. Hogan said he had asked both the White House and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao for more help for federal funding, to no avail.
Unlike most elected Republicans, Hogan did not endorse or vote for Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential Election, instead writing his father’s name in the write-in section of his ballot. When asked about Trump’s potential effect on the upcoming gubernatorial Election in November, Hogan mentioned the one thing he and the nine Democratic candidates running for governor all have in common — none of them voted for President Trump.
“We all have that in common — none of us voted for Trump,” Hogan said. While Hogan has broken ranks with the national party by resisting to ally himself with Trump, Hogan downplayed any type of ill will toward the presidential administration, saying he has worked with Trump’s Cabinet secretaries.
On the environment, Cardin specifically mentioned how Hogan has worked together with the Congressional Delegation against proposed cuts from the White House, in order to prevent federal cuts to programs that were meant to protect the Chesapeake Bay.
“We worked together as Team Maryland in order to achieve what is necessary,” Cardin said.