D.C., Md., Va. Leaders Seek Inaugural Financing

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By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 1, 2009

The D.C. mayor and the governors of Maryland and Virginia wrote to the region's congressional delegation yesterday, pleading for help in getting the federal government to pay inauguration costs that could top $75 million.

Congress has given the District $15 million to cover security and other expenses for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama (D) as well as other national events this year. Maryland and Virginia do not directly receive federal funds for inaugurations, officials said.

Federal officials said they expect 150,000 people to jam Baltimore to view Obama on Jan. 17 during his District-bound train trip, the letter said. About 500,000 people could pack the Mall for the opening inaugural event Jan. 18, as many as usually turn out for the annual Fourth of July celebration, the letter said.

At least 2 million people are expected at the swearing-in and parade Jan. 20, according to the letter signed by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D).

The District has estimated its costs for the events will be more than $47 million; Virginia expects to spend $16 million and Maryland $12 million, the letter said. The biggest expenditures will be for law enforcement, communication, transportation and fire and emergency medical services.

President Bush's second inauguration, in 2005, cost the District about $17.3 million. It drew 300,000 to 400,000 people, officials said.

"The emergency managers in the District, Maryland and Virginia are expecting this to be the most complex and challenging inaugural in history," the letter said.

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