GBC to host 2009 Regional Transportation Summit

As Congress works on new federal transportation funding authorization, three experts on national transportation issues will address the Greater Baltimore Committee at its 2009 Transportation Summit on June 25 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.

The speakers will include:

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland, 7th District
John Horsley, executive director, The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
Thomas Murphy (former Mayor of Pittsburgh, PA), senior resident fellow, ULI/Klingbeil Family Chair for Urban Development

Maryland is stuck in a transportation crisis. The backlog of transportation 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.

At least 50 percent of Maryland’s transportation funding comes from the federal government, the highway trust fund, a federal account used to help pay for highway and bridge projects. The federal transportation fund has been depleted once this year already. Congress approved an emergency transfer of $8 billion in general treasury dollars last fall to make up a projected shortfall — the first time in the program’s history that had happened. It is expected to encounter difficulty again in August of this year, with a need for an additional $8 billion to $10 billion to keep the fund solvent through the year ending September 30, 2010.

Prominent national officials and renowned transportation experts will discuss solutions to address this fiscal crisis and federal and state transportation infrastructure needs including:

• Will the federal government increase transportation funding? Will it raise the gas tax? Will it resort to a vehicle miles traveled (VMT), or some other form of taxation?
• Will future federal transportation authorization eliminate obstacles to mass transit and regional rapid rail projects?
• Will Congress address the federal transportation authorization in 2009, or will it lapse into 2010 or beyond.
• Will the authorization expedite project development?
• Is transportation funding getting lost among other federal legislative priorities?
• Does Congress have the political will to pass transportation funding increases in light of current economic challenges?
• Can Maryland projects move forward without federal funding?

The event program sponsor is Central Maryland Transportation Alliance (CMTA) and patron sponsor is Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP.

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