The Washington Post

Busch taps U.S. deputy transportation secretary to make case for Md. revenue

Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), shown here in 2011, has invited U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari to Annapolis. (Marvin Joseph — The Washington Post)

President Obama’s deputy secretary of transportation is scheduled to appear in Annapolis on Tuesday to help make the case that Maryland lawmakers should boost funding for roads and mass transit.

John D. Porcari, who has been invited to speak to House Democrats by Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), will be a familiar face to many in attendance.

Porcari previously served two tours of duty as Maryland’s transportation secretary, most recently under Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), from January 2007 to June 2009, before leaving to work for the Obama administration.

Busch said Monday that Porcari is well-positioned to help lawmakers understand why raising more money at the state level is vital to moving forward with several planned projects, including the Purple Line in the Washington region.

“He’s got a background in both the state and federal government,” Busch said. ”He should be able to talk about why you have to address this now and what the risk is of not addressing it.”

O’Malley and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) have been pushing for months to raise revenue for transportation.

But those efforts are getting more attention now that Virginia — another state that had been running out of money for new projects — has passed a major funding bill.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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