Baltimore Port Secrets
Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan Thursday told the budget committee that oversees the Port of Baltimore he would not answer questions about the state's contract with Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.
P&O is the British firm that has signed a deal to be purchased by Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates. Members of both political parties have expressed concerns about the potential for security risks posed by the sale that would affect Baltimore and five other U.S. ports. Flanagan's boss, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., though has said he's inclined to support the deal
Maryland Del. Peter Franchot (D-Montgomery) attempted yesterday to leverage his committee's control over the port's budget to learn more about the security risks posed by the sale. He peppered Flanagan with questions about the issue, but the budget secretary refused to answer.
Franchot appeared surprised to encounter the resistence, and asked the transportation secretary why he wasn't in a position to say more.
"I didn't say I'm not in a position to say more, Mr. Chairman," Flanagan replied. "I said I'm not going to say more."
At that, Franchot halted the meeting, saying he would get around to reviewing the port's budget when Flanagan was ready to respond to questions about the pending contract.
http://http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/23/AR2006022302062.htmlIn Baltimore, Mayor Martin O'Malley launched an online petition to urge President Bush to reverse his administration's decision to clear the deal. He also asked Ehrlich
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