Obama Taps Porcari for Transportation Post
Transportation Secretary John Porcari, one of the most respected members of Gov. Martin O'Malley's cabinet, has been nominated by President Obama as second-in-command at the federal Department of Transportation, the White House announced today.
Porcari's departure will be a big loss for the O'Malley administration: He's a hardworking and experienced road and rail wonk whom the governor lured to his cabinet for a second tour as chief of Maryland's highway and public transit systems, the Port of Baltimore, BWI Marshall Airport, and the motor vehicle agency. He'll help oversee a transportation workforce of 55,000.
Porcari, 50, has overseen funding cuts to road projects in the last year, although federal stimulus money is breathing new life into the program. He is also overseeing construction of the $2.4 billion InterCounty Connector through Montgomery County.
In an interview, he said he was not seeking a federal post but got a call out of the blue from the White House personnel office a few weeks ago. "I was very pleasantly surprised," he said, and called his departure from Maryland "bittersweet."
Porcari is the second member of the governor's cabinet to decamp for Washington. Obama has also nominated Tom Perez, a former Montgomery County council member and secretary of the state's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, as assistant attorney general for civil rights.
Porcari also was transportation chief under Gov. Parris Glendening (D) from 1999 to 2002, when he was directly involved in planning and securing funding for the $2.4 billion Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
O'Malley today called Porcari an "advocate for infrastructure investment."
April 10, 2009; 3:14 PM ET
Categories: Lisa Rein
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