FirstEnergy to invest more than $143 million to improve Potomac Edison service area

FirstEnergy Corp. announced Thursday that it plans to invest more than $143 million in 2014 to improve reliability in its Potomac Edison service area. The investment represents an increase of about $80 million compared to what FirstEnergy — the parent company of Potomac Edison — invested in projects in Western Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia in 2013, the company said in a news release. Major projects scheduled for this year include transmission enhancements, building new distribution circuits, replacing underground cables and making system enhancements in high-growth areas for new residential and commercial development, the release said. (Herald-Mail)

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Jos. A. Bank willing to consider a higher price from Men's Wearhouse

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. said late Thursday it would meet with Men’s Wearhouse if the rival is willing to increase its $1.78 billion acquisition offer, a major turn of events in a five-month long corporate soap opera between the two. At the same time, Jos. A. Bank rejected Men’s Wearhouse’s latest $63.50-a-share tender offer, calling the price “inadequate.” (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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State transportation bank bill comes before legislators

A local delegate's plan to lower corporate taxes and open a bank to fund local transportation projects came before state lawmakers Thursday. Delegate Galen Clagett testified that 33 states already have infrastructure banks, and Maryland should get on board to keep up with needed capital improvements. His bill would establish an infrastructure bank filled with funds from corporate income tax revenue, any other state appropriations and investment earnings. Local governments or private entities could then apply for loans from the bank to finance transportation projects, according to Clagett. (News-Post)

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City selling Baltimore’s high-rise public housing to private entities

Baltimore housing officials are negotiating to sell most of the city’s public housing high-rise buildings to private developers who will renovate and manage them under a new model. The plan will impact thousands of the nearly 20,000 residents who live in the 21 mixed population and senior multi-story buildings operated by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) – and will result in millions in low-income tax credits for the developers, sources close to the negotiations said this week. (Brew)

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Evergreen Health Co-op expands scope amid health exchange problems

Evergreen Health Co-op will begin selling health policies for large businesses and is offering to keep prices stable for two years in an effort to draw in more members. Evergreen, a new insurance company created under the federal Affordable Care Act, has struggled to build a membership base because of the ongoing problems with Maryland’s health insurance exchange. The co-op had originally been counting on uninsured residents enrolling in coverage through the exchange, but has since had to rethink its strategy. This is the most recent example of the insurer’s effort to meet enrollment goals any way possible. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Montgomery County doles out $500K in biotech tax credits

Montgomery County will dole out $500,000 to investors in 10 life sciences companies through its coveted biotech tax credit, a fifth of which will go to backers of Gaithersburg-based diagnostics company DioGenix Inc. The half-million dollars from the county piggybacks on the $3.5 million in tax credits from the state to those same 46 investors. The incentives are tied to a total $7 million in private biotech investments in the county last year. (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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Port of Baltimore makes Maryland attractive to international trade partners

Benjamin Franklin once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Failing to prepare was not the case for the Port of Baltimore, which in 1996 mapped out goals and a strategic plan for growth — a plan that has landed Maryland at the top of the nation in terms of exports and international trade. (Daily Record)

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Cordish loses in bid to open Mass. casino

The Cordish Cos., of Baltimore, has been passed over in its effort to be awarded a license to operate a slot-machine casino in Massachusetts. The state Gaming Commission on Thursday tentatively awarded the license to Penn National Gaming Inc., of Wyomissing, Pa. (Daily Record)

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