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Md. transportation secretary steps down

Monday - 4/30/2012, 4:16pm  ET

By SARAH BREITENBACH
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland transportation secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley will step down from her post July 1.

Officials announced Monday that Swaim-Staley, the first woman to head the state's transportation department, is leaving the job after 25 years of state service.

It is unclear what Swaim-Staley's next step will be, said Jack Cahalan, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation.

There is no specific reason for her departure.

"In her mind it's time," Cahalan said. "It's just the right time."

Gov. Martin O'Malley named Swaim-Staley secretary in 2009.

"Throughout her tenure, she has solidified her reputation as a skilled and forward-thinking executive," O'Malley said in a statement. "With her strong background in both finance and transportation, Beverley guided our transportation efforts during the most difficult economic downturn this country has faced in generations."

Swaim-Staley recently underscored the state's transportation funding woes, pointing to the need for revenues to fund projects across Maryland.

She served on a commission that recommended the legislature increase the tax on gasoline by 15 cents over three years to pay for road improvements and other projects. Neither that proposal nor a recommendation from O'Malley to apply the state's 6 percent sales tax to gasoline was approved by the legislature this year.

Previously, Swaim-Staley served as deputy transportation secretary and oversaw changes in security at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In his statement, O'Malley credits Swaim-Staley with guiding projects including a public-private partnership at the Port of Baltimore and the opening of the Intercounty Connector, a highway connecting interstates in the Washington suburbs.

Discussions about Swaim-Staley's replacement are just beginning, said Takirra Winfield, an O'Malley spokeswoman.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)