Maryland Gov. Hogan assumes leadership of National Governors Association

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan took over leadership of the National Governors Association Friday, emphasizing the need to upgrade the country’s aging infrastructure.

The Republican governor’s year-long term will have a theme of “Infrastructure: Foundation for Success,” focusing on state-led projects to repair and improve infrastructure to “grow the economy, create jobs and meet the needs of the 21st century."


During a speech at the NGA’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Hogan hinted that he’ll use the program to highlight public-private projects that involve the government working with private businesses on projects.

He said the program will have four “pillars,” including relieving congestion; eliminating red tape and using smart technology; protecting critical infrastructure; and “leveraging private-sector investment.”


One of Hogan’s signature proposals in Maryland — widening multiple highways with toll lanes built by a private company — features two of those principles, reducing congestion and partnering with the private sector.

Hogan has come under fire from some critics of his plan to widen the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 in this manner, called a “public-private partnership.”

In his speech, Hogan touted another public-private partnership that is building the Purple Line light rail in the Washington suburbs. He also highlighted expansion activities at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and the Port of Baltimore and progress on repaving many of the state’s highways.

Hogan said he believes that many governors have success stories for finding ways to fund infrastructure projects.

“I intend to highlight the great work of all of our governors,” Hogan said. He added that he hopes the governors together can “drive action from our leaders in Washington.”

Hogan described his approach to transportation as a “balanced, all-inclusive approach.” He said he’s funded priority transportation projects in every jurisdiction in the state.

A splashy video that preceded Hogan’s speech carried the same theme, flashing images of highways, container ships and Metro trains interspersed with clips of Hogan’s first inaugural speech, when he spoke about bipartisanship.

But Democrats and some transportation and environmental advocates have said Hogan is too focused on highway projects at the expense of improving mass transit. For example, Hogan abandoned the Red Line, an east-west light rail line proposed for Baltimore.

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Hogan takes over the National Governors Association leadership from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who is running for president. The bipartisan organization traditionally alternates between having Democratic and Republican leaders.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, was elected as vice chairman, setting him up to succeed Hogan next year.

Cuomo and Hogan both had sharp words for the federal government in Washington, D.C.

“The truth is obvious to all: Washington is in a state of political paralysis and that paralysis has stymied functionality," Cuomo said.

Hogan said that governors offer valuable leadership.

“While partisanship and dysfunction have consumed Washington, in states across the country, governors are working together in a bipartisan way,” he said.


The last Maryland governor to lead the NGA was Democrat Parris Glendening in 2000-2001.