The Greater Baltimore Committee is forming an independent private-sector task force to study and recomment a long term plan for funding Maryland's transportation infrastructure. Donald C. Fry, GBC president and CEO, announced that Anne Ferro and Joseph DeMattos Jr. will co-chair the task force.
Ferro, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, previously served seven years as administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. DeMattos, director of AARP Maryland, has more than 20 years' experience working with federal and state lawmakers on policy issues.
"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. The GBC is the most prominent organization of business and civic leaders in the region.
According to Fry, 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.
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," Fry said.
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. Fry estimated that the task force could begin its work as early as July.