Why the big Lexus Lane push in Maryland?

Follow the (Political) Money

Press Release
March 8, 2019
 
Why is the Hogan administration pushing so hard for its $23 billion toll road & bridge proposal, in the face of rising state-wide opposition? This morning's news offers new evidence of links between the governor's fundraising operations and the plan to soak Marylanders with sky-high tolls and send billions of dollars to private companies.
 
A pattern of connections has emerged in recent months:
 
●  In December MDOT awarded the Florida firm of RS&H a $90 million contract to oversee the award of $11 billion in contracts for toll lanes on I-270 and the Capital Beltway. (This is the contract MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn had previously tried to award to his previous employer.) On RS&H's Board of Directors is lobbyist Maria Cino, who was chief fundraiser for Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and who then became vice-chair of the Republican National Committee.
 
●  Maryland Matters revealed this morning a $25,000 donation to the governor's inaugural committee from Transurban, the Australian operator of toll lanes on I-95 and the Beltway in Virginia. Transurban's CEO recently told investors that it is "trying to maximize the tolls" on Virginia's highways.
 
●  A computer security company called Fireeye gave $50,000 to the Republican Governors Association ad campaign against Hogan's opponent in last fall's election. The CEO of Fireeye, Kevin Mandia, is a college buddy of hedge fund manager Ryan Schedler of Trellus Management. Schedler solely funded the startup of Mandia's company. Trellus is a big holder of stock in Macquarie, the other big Australian toll road company.
 
The Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition has called on the General Assembly to enact HB 102 (cross-filed as SB 442) to bring the toll plan under control. This bill would extend the coverage of an existing statute,which requires the state to obtain the consent of counties affected by new toll highway and bridge projects on the Eastern Shore, to all affected Maryland counties.