Tanya Sheres, a spokeswoman for Transurban, said Allen’s title will be government affairs manager. Sheres declined to comment on Allen’s role in the company because Allen is not yet a Transurban employee. Allen’s hiring was first reported by Maryland Matters.
While it’s not unusual for government employees to move to the private sector, Allen’s hiring comes as the Hogan administration begins to solicit companies to finance and build up to four toll lanes each on the Beltway and I-270 via public-private partnerships.
Transurban, an Australian company that operates express toll lanes on Interstates 95 and 395, as well as the Beltway in Northern Virginia, is widely considered a key competitor for Maryland’s highway expansion.
Asked whether Transurban plans to bid on the Maryland toll lanes, Sheres said the company is “encouraged by the direction Maryland is going and [hopes] the project moves forward with the opportunity to compete.”
Transurban also is extending Virginia’s express toll lanes on I-95 south to Fredericksburg and north on the Beltway to the Maryland border.
The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday is expected to approve changes to Hogan’s plan, which would allow the state to begin soliciting teams of companies to finance and build the lanes. The public-private partnerships, expected to total $9 billion to $11 billion, would include some of the largest contracts ever awarded in Maryland and would be among the largest public-private partnerships in the country.
Ricci said Allen has been “a valued and dedicated member of the governor’s team since his first campaign in 2014.” He dismissed concerns about Allen working for a company that might compete for state business.
“She is a junior staffer with no policymaking role in the administration whatsoever,” Ricci wrote in an email. “Her job involves doing outreach to local officials, including mayors and city council members. This is essentially the same role she will have at Transurban.”
Ricci said Allen declined to be interviewed. She did not respond to two emails seeking comment.
Maryland officials have said companies will construct the toll lanes and rebuild the existing lanes at no cost to taxpayers in exchange for operating the toll lanes and keeping most of the revenue. They say use of the existing lanes will remain free.