Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Frustrated commuters in Montgomery County might be glad to hear Maryland's incoming Secretary of Transportation has expertise in highway construction and operation. Governor-elect Larry Hogan made an interstate move himself in selecting Pete Rahn for the position, who has served in that role in New Mexico and Missouri. "He's the best highway builder in the entire country, so that had a lot to do with us hiring him," Hogan said at a press conference Wednesday. Rahn, described as a "hard charger" by the St. Louis Dispatch, is known for managing ambitious highway projects, and controlling costs.

Hogan stressed that record, in the context of fiascos such as the still-unfinished Silver Spring Transit Center, for which taxpayers involuntarily forked over another $21 million after a County Council vote yesterday. "Pete oversaw the successful reconstruction of Interstate 64, and finished the $530 million dollar project under budget, and ahead of schedule - something that never happens here in Maryland," Hogan jabbed.

To the question of whether he would favor highways over transit, the latter of which Hogan has noted is utilized by less than 10% of Marylanders, Rahn promised to work toward a "very balanced network" of transportation modes. In 2009, Rahn was named Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine.

Cost will be a major factor in prioritizing transportation projects, with budget deficits looming.

Last-minute budget cuts by outgoing Governor Martin O'Malley and the Board of Public Works have been played up in recent media reports. But with a $750 million shortfall in next year's budget, and a structural deficit likely to last into the near future, Hogan's assessment of the situation was not quite as rosy.

"Our budget secretary said it's the worst he's seen in his lifetime," Hogan warned, predicting it could take "eight to ten years to get out of this mess." That budget secretary's name is expected to be revealed at another press conference on Thursday.


Anonymous said...

That picture of Hogan reminds me of Pat Boone when he was singing the songs that he stole from Little Richard.

Anonymous said...

It is annoying when instead of doing the necessary work to increase the percentage of people using mass transit, the percentage numbers are used by Hogan as an excuse to rally for roads.I will believe Rahn's "very balanced network" of transportation modes when I see it, but if the 10% number keeps popping up, then I guess it puts us people who don't believe that Car is King stuffed in the rumble seat with the top closed. We have enough retrogression in the county and state as it is; we don't need any more Road Barons to keep the biz as usual road warriors in feathers and fringe. We shall see.