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Helen Delich Bentley's

isn't to privatize the port of Baltimore; it's to make the

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a separate state agency from the

. It would still be a public entity, run by the state of Maryland. The reasoning, however, is that the port is a vastly different animal than the rest of the DOT's responsibilities (roads, cars, mass transit, airports, etc.), and therefore requires more specialized management.

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The idea that the port needs to be run as a business is misleading. The purpose of the MPA is not to turn a profit in and of itself. Its purpose is to run the port in such a way that encourages commercial maritime shipping companies to channel more of their traffic through Baltimore as opposed to other cities. More shipping traffic means more local jobs and a better local economy. The Port Administration itself can operate at a loss, as long as the side effects (increased tax base, etc.) provide an overall net benefit. Most things run by government are done so because they are inherently unprofitable but necessary; otherwise they would be run by the private sector.

Regards,

Scott Shaffer

Baltimore

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