Governor Martin O’Malley announced the appointment of Maryland Carey Law alumnus James T. Smith as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) during a press conference May 29 at the site of a project widening the Baltimore Beltway between Route 40 and Frederick Road.
"Today, as we look upon the future site of a project that will create nearly 1,200 jobs, improve safety and ease traffic congestion, I am pleased to announce Jim Smith as our next Transportation Secretary - a committed and effective partner of Maryland’s communities,” said O’Malley during a news conference on Wednesday.
“As an outstanding former county executive, he understands the connections between transportation and jobs, and I am confident that his leadership will help us build the 21st Century transportation network that will spur economic development and turn our investments into real projects that make a real difference for all Marylanders."
Smith, 71, will assume the position previously held by Beverly Swaim-Staley, who resigned last year. His appointment comes at a crucial time as the department prepares major spending initiatives on road and transit projects, funded by the gasoline-tax increase which the General Assembly passed this year.
““I am excited to be joining an administration that is fully committed to public transportation,” Smith told BayNet.com. “The Governor has steadily shown that commitment through investments in new hybrid buses for the MTA’s local bus service and new diesel locomotives for the MARC Train service. He has led the way on New Starts projects like the Red and Purple Lines. As a lifelong proponent of public transportation, I could not be happier about this new opportunity.”
Currently, Smith is of counsel with Smith, Gildea & Schmidt in Towson, where he handles complex litigation and business matters, land use, administrative law, and governmental affairs. Previously, he served as Baltimore County Executive from 2002-2010 and was a Baltimore County Circuit judge for 16 years.
“Jim’s experience will undoubtedly serve the people of Maryland well in his new position,” said Dean Phoebe Haddon. “Governor O’Malley has made an excellent choice. We at UM Carey Law couldn’t be more proud of Jim’s work and his dedication to public service.”
Smith is no stranger to working with MDOT or the state, serving on many committees and boards including the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (Chair 2005 and 2010); the Maryland Association of Counties (President 2008); the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (Chair 2010); the Board of the University of Maryland Medical System; and the Board of Visitors of the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center (2002-present). He was recently elected to the Board of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Wheeling Jesuit University.