Early Briefing: Md. Opening Door To Credit Counselors?

* A legislative proposal in Maryland would allow for-profit credit counseling companies to operate in the state, just as nonprofit firms do. Maryland is one of only a handful of states to close its doors to for-profit firms that charge consumers deep in debt to find financial security. But a Columbia firm called AscendOne Corp. and its supporters say that the firm has helped thousands of consumers in 35 states recover good credit and get out of debt.

Opponents, including consumer groups that have fought the proposal for two years, call for-profits such as AscendOne predators cashing in on vulnerable homeowners struck by the home-foreclosure crisis, according to this story.

* Several big transportation projects in Northern Virginia are on the ropes. After 40 years of transportation planning, Metrorail to Dulles International Airport was on track to bring transit to Tysons Corner and other job centers. Money was finally in place for hundreds of major and secondary roads, interchanges, new turn lanes and other fixes for the region's worst bottlenecks.

But it took less than a month for the 40 years of planning to unravel. The federal government's hesitation on Dulles rail, a state Supreme Court decision killing a huge source of transportation money and the economic downturn have the state's plans in tatters.

"It's a grim situation," said Julia A. "Judy" Connally, a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, the panel that establishes administrative policies for the state's transportation system. Read the rest of the story here.

* The Carlyle Group's founders are considering whether to pump more money into a trouble European affiliate known as Carlyle Capital. See story.

* William R. Brody, 64, will retire as president of Johns Hopkins University at the end of the year, closing out a busy 12-year tenure during which he led efforts to transform undergraduate education and modernize facilities at the elite school. See story.

By Dan Beyers  |  March 11, 2008; 7:15 AM ET
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