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Area businessmen Cox and Von Paris appointed to Maryland Transportation Authority board

Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed William H. Cox Jr., of Bel Air and John F. Von Paris of Upper Falls to serve as the newest board members of the Maryland Transportation Authority, which operates the state's toll bridges and tunnels.

"Bill's and John's legislative, financial, business and transportation backgrounds will add to the diverse experience of our Board members," MDTA Chairman and Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn said in a statement.

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President of William H. Cox Jr. Real Estate, Inc., on North Main Street in Bel Air, Cox was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing Harford County from 1971 to 1991 and previously worked in the financial industry.

Raised at the former Edgewood Arsenal and a graduate of Bel Air High School, Cox attended the University of Baltimore and previously served as chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation and the Greater Harford Committee, a member of the Maryland Transportation Commission, vice chairman of the Conference of State Government and chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference's Federal State Affairs Committee.

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Bike riders were officially allowed on the Route 40 bridge Friday, as Maryland Transportation Authority unveiled a flashing-light warning system to help cyclists merge onto the 1.3-mile overpass with no bike lane or shoulder.

Cox is also one of the founders and an active board member of the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation, Inc., a charitable organization that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various community projects in and around Bel Air, including for bleachers at Bel Air High School's football field, improvements to the William A. Humbert Amphitheater at Shamrock Park and funding toward the construction of Annie's Playground in Fallston.

"I am honored to receive this appointment and look forward to serving as a governing member of the agency responsible for so many of our state's major transportation investments," Cox said in a statement released by the governor's office.

A graduate of Towson University, Von Paris is president and chief executive officer of Von Paris Enterprises, Inc., the parent company of the Von Paris Family Moving and Storage business. Von Paris has served previously as chairman of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland and past member of the Governor's Workforce Investment Board, where he co-chaired the Transportation Initiative. He is a past trustee and board member of The John Carroll School in Bel Air.

"Serving on the MDTA Board is truly a privilege," Von Paris said. "I look forward to working with this well-respected organization and talented team. I will use my many years of industry experience to best serve the citizens of Maryland."

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The Maryland Transportation Authority oversees operations of facilities such as the Route 40 Thomas J. Hatem and I-95 Millard Tydings bridges in Harford County, the Fort McHenry and Baltimore Harbor tunnels and the William Preston Lane Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

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