GBC names DeMattos, Ferro co-chairs of transportation funding task force

Joseph DeMattos, Jr., and Anne Ferro will co-chair an independent private-sector task force that the Greater Baltimore Committee is forming to study and recommend a long-term plan for adequately funding Maryland’s transportation infrastructure, GBC president and CEO Donald C. Fry announced.

DeMattos, director of AARP Maryland, has more than 20 years experience working with federal and state lawmakers on policy issues. Ferro, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, previously served seven years as administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

The GBC task force that DeMattos and Ferro will lead is to be comprised entirely of volunteer executives from the business and civic community, some of whom will be former lawmakers, Fry said at the GBC’s first annual Baltimore Regional Transportation Summit, held at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore o June 16.

The task force, whose members are currently being recruited by the GBC, will take at least a year to study transportation funding in other U.S. states, as well as other countries. The panel will “start from scratch” to consider all potential options for funding transportation, said Fry, who asserts that Maryland faces a crisis in funding its transportation infrastructure.

Despite transportation fund revenue increases enacted during the November 2007 special session of the General Assembly, state revenue dedicated to transportation still falls far short of needs. “The backlog of state highway, transit, port and airport projects needing construction funding exceeds $40 billion. The state’s elected leaders have failed to provide adequate funding. The cost of congestion in the state is estimated at $3 billion per year,” says Fry.

Among other things, the GBC task force will examine best practices throughout the country for establishing regional transportation priorities, better coordinating transportation projects and planning efforts, and structuring metropolitan planning organizations, said Fry. He estimated that the task force could begin its work as early as July.

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