Maryland’s recently announced $1.1 billion in transportation budget cuts and the growing uncertainty of federal funding confirm that the current system of paying for transportation infrastructure in the state and nation is broken, Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO Donald C. Fry sad.
“Policy leaders at both the state and national levels must get serious about developing long-term strategic reform in the way we fund our transportation infrastructure,” Fry wrote in the GBC’s September 11 State House Update newsletter to GBC members. “It is becoming abundantly clear that the existing patchwork approach that has prevailed in both Annapolis and Washington, D.C. is not working.”
Responding to the state’s increasingly challenging transportation revenue picture, the GBC has formed a private-sector transportation task force to recommend innovative ways to provide Maryland’s transportation funding. The task force, headed by Joseph DeMattos Jr., director of AARP Maryland, and Anne Ferro, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, will also examine the existing structure for transportation planning and operational management in Maryland and the Baltimore region.
Improving the transportation resources of the Baltimore region and the state is a top priority of the GBC. For several years, Fry and the GBC have urged state elected leaders to develop better strategies for addressing a more than $40 billion backlog of planned, but unfunded, highway, transit, port and airport facilities, according to Fry.
Fry says he does not blame Maryland Transportation Secretary John Porcari for implementing the latest round of budget cuts. “Secretary Porcari is just working within the existing funding systems,” Fry said. “The problem is, the systems need to be fixed.”