Governor Hogan Elected Chair of the NGA
Thank you very much. I want to sincerely thank all of my fellow governors for electing me as chairman of the NGA. I am so honored to have the opportunity to lead the nation’s governors over the next year.
You know, I remember going to my first seminar for new governors, or as I like to call it, “Baby Governors’ School.”
Back in 2014, after I was first elected, I didn’t know all of the governors. And I can tell you, it was hard for me to tell the Republicans from the Democrats. And I realized right then how special and unique this organization is.
The NGA is not just about representing America’s governors—it is also about what America’s governors represent.
While partisanship and dysfunction have consumed Washington, in states across the country, governors are working together in a bipartisan way, showing real leadership, making real progress, and finding real solutions to the serious problems facing us.
Our nation’s governors on both sides of the aisle are finding new ways to innovate, to reform, and to drive the debate.
Four years ago in Maryland, I committed to usher in a new era of bipartisan trust and cooperation where the best ideas could rise to the top based on their merit, regardless of which side of the aisle they come from. I pledged to govern with civility and moderation and to avoid attempts to drive us to the extremes of either political party.
That common sense pragmatism has guided our path and the path of other governors across the country. On so many of the biggest challenges, like healthcare, education, and the environment, we have sought out common sense solutions and gotten things done.
One of the things that makes Americans so special, so exceptional, is that when we see that something is broken, we fix it. Or at least we try to.
Like so many of you, I’m fed up with the angry and divisive politics that is literally tearing our country apart. In Washington, both parties seem to be moving away from common ground and away from progress.
But over the next year, the nation’s governors have the opportunity to prove that there is a better way to govern.
In the states, there are leaders who are willing to work together across party lines to take on the big problems. And let’s begin with something that is fundamental to our economy, to our environment, and to our way of life.
Today, I’m launching my initiative, “Infrastructure: Foundation for Success,” which will focus on rebuilding, repairing, and modernizing America’s infrastructure in ways that will grow our economy, create jobs, and meet the needs of the 21st century.
This initiative is composed of four main pillars: relieving congestion to boost economic competitiveness, eliminating red tape and integrating smart technology, protecting America’s critical infrastructure, and financing and leveraging private sector investment.
In Maryland, we have taken a balanced, all-inclusive approach to infrastructure. We have moved forward on nearly all of the highest-priority transportation projects in every single jurisdiction all across our state—an unprecedented and historic investment in transportation infrastructure in both transit and roads.
We have over 800 projects totaling $9 billion in roads, bridges, and tunnels currently under construction.
We have repaved more than one half of our entire state highway system and invested $150 million in innovative traffic congestion solutions, smart technology, and cutting-edge smart signalization networks.
And we invested a record $14 billion in transit, including starting construction of the Purple Line project in the Washington Capital Region, which is a partnership between the federal, state, and local governments and the private sector and is the largest P3 transit project in North America.
Just a few weeks ago, we approved the largest P3 highway project in the world to relieve traffic congestion on I-270 and 495, the Capital Beltway.
The Baltimore-Washington International Airport continues to be the number one airport in the region in passenger traffic and is one of the most convenient and efficient airports in the nation.
The Port of Baltimore handled more than 10 million tons of cargo for the third straight year and is continuing to break records thanks to our dredging efforts, which gave us the ability to serve the largest cargo ships in the world.
My fellow governors all across America have similar success stories to share. In states throughout the nation, they are upgrading roads, bridges, and mass transit. They’re improving airports and ports and fixing aging water systems.
As NGA chairman, I intend to highlight the great work of our governors, and we also plan to bring together thought leaders from government, business, non-profits, and academia to come up with new ideas and innovative solutions in order to help solve the infrastructure crisis in America and to help the nation’s governors drive action from our leaders in Washington.
Ladies and gentlemen, despite all the wedge politics and petty rhetoric, I truly believe that what unites us is greater than that which divides us. And to those who say that our political system, like our infrastructure, is too broken and can’t be fixed, I would argue that America’s governors have already shown a better path forward.
And if we can accomplish it in our states, if we can set out to fix and rebuild what’s broken, then there is no place in America where these very same principles can not succeed.