In the 2022 Legislative Session, the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 474, sponsored by Senators George Edwards, Paul Corderman, and Katie Hester.
The legislation called for the creation of the Senator George C. Edwards Fund and established the Western Maryland Economic Future Investment Board to review, evaluate, and rate applications for funding from the program. It also made this program a part of the Tri-County Council of Western Maryland, which supports the board and administers the fund.
The purpose of the Fund is to provide grant or loan funding to capital infrastructure projects and business development projects that improve the economic conditions in the region. A total of $50 million has been allocated for economic development projects over the next four years. The first round of funding is for $20 million to support projects in Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties.
The Western Maryland Economic Future Investment Board solicited applications and has been evaluating the projects that could make the most substantial economic impact, bring significant employment opportunities, and/or increase the tax base.
Requests for funding in Garrett County alone totaled over $8.7 million and would create over 200 jobs in the next year and over 300 new jobs in the next three years. Project awards are expected to be announced soon.
Senate Bill 474 also designated the positions which are represented on the Board. One representative from the Department of Commerce, appointed by the Secretary of Commerce; one commissioner from each member county, appointed by each member county’s respective commissioners; one representative of an economic development organization in each member county, appointed by each member county’s respective commissioners; one representative from Chamber of Commerce from each member county, appointed by each member county’s respective Chamber of Commerce; and one representative from the Maryland Municipal League, appointed by the Executive Director of the League.
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