Greater Baltimore Committee names 25 to transportation funding task force

Twenty-five executives have been named to serve on a Greater Baltimore Committee task force that will meet on December 1 to begin studying the way transportation is funded and managed in Maryland, GBC president and CEO Donald C. Fry announced today.

The group’s goal will be to recommend to state lawmakers a long-term plan for adequately funding Maryland’s transportation infrastructure, said Fry, noting that Maryland is facing a crisis in transportation funding and governance.

Members of the private-sector GBC task force include senior executives – many with transportation-related knowledge and policy experience. Task force members were recruited from a wide range of GBC-member businesses including law, engineering, architectural, financial, and real estate firms. The task force includes three former county executives and two former Baltimore City council members.

The task force will be co-chaired by Anne Ferro, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, and Joseph DeMattos, Jr., director of AARP Maryland. Ferro is a former administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. DeMattos, who formerly directed AARP’s nationwide government relations, has more than 20 years of experience working with federal and state lawmakers on policy issues.

“This group has an abundance of talent and policy insight to take a fresh look, from a private-sector perspective, at the substantial transportation funding challenges facing Maryland,” Fry said.

Despite transportation fund revenue increases enacted during the November 2007 special session of the General Assembly, available revenue for highways, transit, port and airport facilities has since been severely depleted. During the 2008 legislative session lawmakers took back $250 million from the state’s transportation fund to balance the budget, and a $3.6 billion revenue shortfall for transportation has subsequently been forecast due to declining taxes and fees and federal funding uncertainty.

“This comes at a time when Maryland faces a backlog of between $40 billion and $60 billion in state transportation projects that are planned but not funded for construction,” Fry said. “We must find ways to do a better job of funding transportation resources that are critical to Maryland’s economy. The cost of congestion in the state is currently estimated at $3 billion per year. Work on this significant issue is more timely than ever.”

Among other things, the GBC task force will 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.

Joining Fry, Ferro and DeMattos on the task force are:

John A. Agro, Jr., senior vice president, STV Group, and former administrator of the Maryland Transit Administration
James R. Beardsley, managing director, Aon Risk Services
Alan C. Cason, office managing partner, McGuire Woods, LLP
William S. Corey, Jr., office managing partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
Maureen Decker office principal, Pennoni Associates, Inc.
Karen S. Deeley, vice president, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc.
Charles I. “Chuck” Ecker, superintendent, Carroll County Public Schools and former county executive of Howard County
Jason French, director of public affairs, CSX Transportation
W. Dennis Gilligan, Craftsmen Developers
James M. Harkins, director, Maryland Environmental Service, former county executive of Harford County, and former member of the Maryland House of Delegates
Alvin Katz, president & CEO, KAWG&F
Joseph T. “Jody” Landers, III, executive vice president, Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, and former member of the Baltimore City Council
Dr. Kevin Manning, president, Stevenson University
Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr., officer, Small Business Banking, Wachovia Bank, and former member of the Baltimore City Council
Robert R. Neall, CEO, Priority Partners, former county executive of Anne Arundel County, and former member of the Senate of Maryland and the Maryland House of Delegates
Thomas L. Osborne, vice president, Patton Harris Rust & Associates, and former administrator of the Maryland Transportation Authority
Bill M. Pisano, director of branch operations, Stephen James Associates
John R. Redding, vice president & general manager, The Belts Corporation
Michael Rogers executive vice president, MedStar Health
Otis Rolley, president & CEO, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
Benjamin Rosenberg, managing partner, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP
Wilbert Sirota, partner, Duane Morris
Karen A. Sweeney, vice president & general manager, Turner Construction Company

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