Bartlett returns to toll authority

Harold M. Bartlett, a veteran transportation executive who retired as acting head of the Maryland Transportation Authority this year, will return as permanent executive secretary of the toll facilities agency, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Tuesday.

Bartlett, 64, served as deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation in 2009-2010 after a 23-year career with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. He retired as deputy late last year but continued in the role of acting executive secretary until the first phase of the Inter-county Connector was opened in February.

The Montgomery County resident said he decided to re-emerge from retirement after receiving calls from authority board members and staff members encouraging him to return to the agency.

"They all said, 'Would you reconsider and come back?'" he said. "I just really missed the folks at the (authority). I think they are hidden gems. Everybody there is just so dedicated to the task at hand."

The agency, which manages the ICC and the state's seven other toll facilities, voted last week to impose the largest package of toll increases in its history.

During the process of proposing the toll package and seeking public comments, the authority has been headed by acting Executive Secretary Randolph P. Brown. Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley said Brown would return to his position as deputy executive secretary.

Swaim-Staley said she asked Bartlett to take the position.

"He was very well respected when he was here, and the authority really, really liked him," she said.

Bartlett said the two big tasks facing the authority are completing the second phase of the ICC, which will complete the link between Interstate 270 and Interstate 95, and finishing the project of adding express toll lanes to Interstate 95 northeast of Baltimore.

He said the ICC appears to be on track for opening late this year or early in 2012. The I-95 toll lanes are expected to open in late 2014.

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