Panels Discuss Opportunities for Economic Growth through Investment in Infrastructure and Transportation
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 18, 2011) – Today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown testified before a joint hearing of the Maryland House and Senate about the importance of investing in infrastructure projects to create jobs and boost the economy. The hearing was the first of two being held this afternoon to explore job creation opportunities through transportation and infrastructure projects and through streamlining government processes to make it easier to do business in Maryland.
The hearings are part of an effort announced yesterday by Governor Martin O’Malley to spark job creation in Maryland and to build consensus for a comprehensive jobs package for the 2012 legislative session. Studies have shown that a $1 billion investment in infrastructure can create 18,000 to 30,000 jobs. <#_ftn1>
“Our number one priority in Maryland is to create and retain as many jobs as we possibly can,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Investing in infrastructure is one of the most effective steps we can take because it has three important benefits: it creates jobs, it injects dollars into our economy, and it establishes the groundwork for long-term recovery and growth. Maryland’s infrastructure needs are critical. Our jobs needs are critical. We must face these challenges together and we must commit to putting people back to work.”
"We must step up our efforts to create jobs in Maryland and there is no doubt that the largest and quickest impact that we can make is with desperately needed investment in the State's infrastructure," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
“Our challenge is to continue to build private sector confidence to invest in Maryland’s economy,” said House Speaker Michael E. Busch. “An educated workforce, good quality of life and strong transportation infrastructure are the assets that businesses look for. Investing in transportation infrastructure and capital projects is the best way for the government to jump start job creation, particularly in the construction industry, which has been among the hardest hit during this recession.”
In addition to Lt. Governor Brown, the hearing on infrastructure and transportation included testimony from numerous state and local officials as well as various experts in infrastructure issues. Testimony was delivered by Beverly Swaim-Staley, Secretary, Maryland Department of Transportation; Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County Executive; Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Executive; Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Mayor; Donald C. Fry, Greater Baltimore Committee, Blue Ribbon Commission; Jim Dinegar, Greater Washington Board of Trades; James Russ, Maryland Transportation Builders and Materials Association; and Jerry Jannetti, Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff.
“It has often been said that you spell the word ‘transportation’ with the letters J-O-B-S,” said Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. “Investing in transportation infrastructure creates and supports jobs in the fields of construction, engineering, design and architecture. However, even more important is the long term benefit of having a modern and efficient transportation infrastructure in place. Transportation opens the door of opportunity for individuals and businesses across Maryland. Whether it be access to a new job or attracting new business, transportation is key to the future success of our citizens and our state.”
“Maryland’s need to adequately invest in transportation infrastructure is one of the most significant challenges to our state’s prospects for economic growth,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
The second hearing being held today will focus on broader economic development and job creation issues, including the potential benefits of the American Jobs Act in Maryland. Those testifying include Christian Johansson, Secretary Department of Business and Economic Development; Alex Sanchez, Secretary Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; Jon Laria, Chair, Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission; David Lever, Executive Director, Interagency Committee on School Construction; and Dr. Darius Irani, Regional Economic Studies Institute, Towson University.
Also in support of job creation efforts, Governor O’Malley signed an Executive Order yesterday calling for a 60 day review by State agencies of current State regulations that can be reformed or eliminated to help spark job creation. After the 60 day review period, the intent is to introduce a package of regulatory reforms to the General Assembly in January.
Lt. Governor Brown leads the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s economic development portfolio. He serves as Chair of numerous economic development initiatives, including the Joint Legislative and Executive Commission on Oversight of Public-Private Partnerships, the Governor’s Subcabinet on Base Realignment and Closure, and the FastTrack initiative – part of Maryland Made Easy (www.easy.maryland.gov) – to streamline the state permitting process for businesses and developers.