"If we want better results, we have to make better choices. This session, we came together for the future of Maryland's transportation network to create more than 57,000 jobs for our hardworking families and rebuild our state's infrastructure," said Gov. O'Malley. "I am pleased to announce Jim Smith as our next Transportation Secretary, a committed and effective partner of Maryland's communities. As an outstanding former county executive, he understands the connections between transportation and jobs and I am confident that his leadership will help us build the 21st Century transportation network that will spur economic development and turn our investments into real projects that make a real difference for all Marylanders."
As Maryland transportation secretary, Smith will oversee the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013's $4.4 billion in new investments during the next six years and manage a 10,000-employee department.
"I am honored to be able to serve with Gov. O'Malley as transportation secretary during this amazing time in our state's transportation history," said Smith. "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."
Effective June 10, Robert Smith will be taking over for current MTA Administrator Ralign Wells, who has decided to expand his transportation experience by heading to the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Robert Smith has more than 30 years of transit experience from Dallas Area Rapid Transit Suburban Services in Dallas, Texas, to the Chicago Transit Authority. He most recently served as vice president of operations for National Express Corporation, one of the student transportation providers that offer full-service transportation solutions to school districts throughout North America. Former Maryland Transportation Secretary John Porcari named Robert Smith MTA Administrator in July 2002, tasking him with restructuring the agency and implementing additional redundant safety procedures throughout the MTA. From that time until November 2004, he provided strategic vision and leadership for the multi-modal transit agency's network of buses, subway, light rail, commuter rail, mobility services and freight rail.
"I am excited to be joining an administration that is fully committed to public transportation," said Robert Smith. "The governor has steadily shown that commitment through investments in new hybrid buses for the MTA's local bus service and new diesel locomotives for the MARC Train service. He has led the way on New Starts projects like the Red and Purple Lines. As a lifelong proponent of public transportation, I could not be happier about this new opportunity."