If Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley wants a transportation funding bill to pass in the upcoming legislative session, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. has a piece of advice: hire a transportation secretary.
Beverly K. Swaim-Staley announced in April that she would be leaving the Cabinet post. Nearly eight months later, O’Malley (D) has yet to announce a replacement.
O’Malley is weighing whether to introduce a major funding bill in the session that starts Jan. 9. It is one of several pieces of legislation that liberal allies are urging him to sponsor.
During the last 90-day session, O’Malley unsuccessfully pushed legislation that would have applied the state’s sales tax to gasoline, raising about $600 million a year for road and mass transit projects.
Any bill that raises prices at the pump remains a challenge to pass, but the odds would improve significantly if there were a transportation secretary “joined at the hip with the governor,” Miller (D-Calvert) said.