Jim Smith to Head State Department of Transportation

Former County Executive and MACo President James T. Smith was formally named Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) on May 29 by Governor Martin O’Malley.

Secretary Smith is starting his position at MDOT

at the site of a new $90 million project to widen I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) from US 40 to Frederick Road (MD 144) in Baltimore County – part of a vision for the future of a 21st century transportation network in Maryland and an investment to create jobs, improve safety and alleviate traffic congestion in the area.

In the announcement from MDOT, Secretary Smith said:

“I am honored to be able to serve with Governor O’Malley as Transportation Secretary during this amazing time in our State’s transportation history. I like serving the public and working on public policy. I am committed to working with elected officials, fellow cabinet secretaries and with all the counties and municipalities across Maryland to turn this State’s vision of our future transportation network into a reality that creates good-family supporting jobs and quality of life for all Marylanders.”

From coverage in the Baltimore Sun (limited free views available):

An administration official said O’Malley had chosen Smith for his experience with financial management and development issues as county executive and his familiarity with the needs of local jurisdictions. The official said Smith is especially qualified to lead the state’s efforts to forge public-private partnerships to build major projects with non-traditional financing — an approach bolstered by legislation that passed the General Assembly this year.

Wicomico County Executive and MACo President Rick Pollitt responded to the news, “Jim Smith is a proven leader, and he definitely understands what’s happening back home where all these roads and bridges are. Maryland will be lucky to have him steering some of our most important infrastructure commitments. I know the counties will work well together with him and the Department.” Mr. Smith served on the MACo Board of Directors and as a MACo officer during his tenure as County Executive.