ANNAPOLIS, MD -- Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced his intention to pursue the establishment of a new public-private regional infrastructure initiative called the Mid-Atlantic Infrastructure Exchange (MAX) to help address critical transportation needs in the National Capital Region and the Mid-Atlantic. The Governor committed to hosting regional meetings laying the groundwork for MAX and building on past collaborations with Mid-Atlantic neighbors. The initiative was created as a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action and was announced during the CGI America annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.
"We're not spending enough on infrastructure, especially since interest rates are lower than inflation, which means infrastructure projects are as close as you can get to a sure thing for a solid rate of return,” said President Clinton. “By making it easier for infrastructure projects to access pension investments and private capital, the Mid-Atlantic Infrastructure Exchange is an innovative way to strengthen critical infrastructure in the region while getting people back to work."
“In Maryland, we’re focused on doing what works: investing in education, innovation, and infrastructure,”Gov. O’Malley said. “We want to create this regional consortium to come up with innovative ways to make more infrastructure investments -- this will put Marylanders to work, and it will make our region an even more attractive place for businesses to invest.”
“Investing in our infrastructure creates jobs, helps build sustainable communities, and spurs economic development," said Lt. Governor Brown. "With our new public-private partnerships law, Maryland is poised to move forward on a number of critical infrastructure projects, such as the Purple Line that will connect Prince George's and Montgomery Counties and help the National Capital Region grow. This regional consortium will help us pursue innovative strategies, share knowledge, and leverage resources so we can continue to invest in our communities.”
The commitment builds on existing efforts to create jobs by investing in infrastructure, education and innovation. Just last year, Governor O’Malley signed the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act into state law. The Act will provide an additional $4.4 billion to support priority transportation efforts and will create or support an estimated 57,000 jobs. Since 2007, the O'Malley-Brown Administration has increased transportation investments by 75 percent, culminating in the largest 6-year transportation budget in Maryland history at $15.65 billion. The State has also increased its funding for wastewater infrastructure by 260 percent since 2007 and created nearly 9,000 jobs.
In 2013, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown led the State’s successful effort to pass the Public-Private Partnerships Act. Today, Maryland is better positioned to showcase the innovative use of public-private partnerships nationally, and the Purple Line project is one of only a handful of projects in the nation that utilizes this dynamic investment method.
The announcement also furthers three of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s 16 strategic goals: (1) todouble transit ridership by the end of 2020 to create a more sustainable future, (2) to recover 100 percent of jobs lost during the recession by the end of 2014, and (3) to reduce Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 25 percent by 2020. The State recovered 100 percent of the jobs it lost in the national recession - one of only 17 states to reach that threshold -- and the O’Malley-Brown Administration continues to use fresh, innovative strategies to strengthen the State’s economy and expand more opportunity to more Marylanders.
The development of the MAX will leverage potential resources from a similar partnership called the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX) along with personnel from Building America’s Future Educational Fund. The governor committed to acting as a facilitator for the work group to assess the feasibility of implementing the concept in the Mid-Atlantic region. The work group will also examine ways to enhance current innovative project delivery efforts as well as infrastructure improvement best practices.
Mirroring the structure of the WCX, the MAX would act as a sustainable, non-governmental entity with the goal of providing technical expertise on project developments not currently available in the Mid-Atlantic region. MAX would act as the central nervous system for infrastructure investment and innovation, connecting local governments and agencies with private investors, developers, workers and project sponsors to address critical gaps in regional infrastructure. The potential benefits include improved access to financial and institutional resources, deployment of public and private investment in regional infrastructure and promotion of job creation efforts in the near-term, and long-term economic competitiveness.