Gov. Larry Hogan detailed his economic and transportation record to a roomful of Montgomery County government officials and business people Tuesday during an event honoring new inductees to the county’s Business Hall of Fame.
“Small-business job creators really are the backbone of our economy, so I want to thank each and every one of you for your role and everything you do for Montgomery County and the business community here,” Hogan said at the event at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville.
Hogan was on hand for the beginning of the event where five local business owners were inducted into the Hall of Fame:
- Kevin Beverly, the president and CEO of Social Scientific Systems in Silver Spring
- Norman Dreyfuss, a county Planning Board member and executive vice president of IDI Group, which developed the senior community Leisure World
- Terry Forde, the CEO of Adventist Healthcare, which operates Shady Grove Medical Center and Washington Adventist Hospital in the county
- Cidali Luis-Akbar, the CEO and owner of M. Luis Construction Co., a Rockville-based asphalt manufacturing and road construction company
- Natalia Luis, the COO and owner of M. Luis Construction Co.
Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame inductees (left to right) Kevin Beverly, Norman Dreyfuss, Terry Forde, Cidali Luis-Akbar and Natalia Luis. Photos via Business Hall of Fame website.
Hogan said that during his time as governor, the General Assembly has not created any new taxes. He said he cut roadway tolls for the first time in 50 years and more than 100,000 jobs were created during his first term.
He described why he had the highway signs that welcome drivers into the state changed to say “We’re Open For Business”
“It wasn’t just a slogan on highway signs—it defined our mission,” Hogan said.
He also promoted the state’s local investments, including $130 million for a new life sciences and engineering building at USG and $100 million for engineering improvements on I-270, and talked about moving the Purple Line project forward.
Hogan said his highway widening plan, which calls for adding four toll lanes to I-495 and I-270 in Maryland, would “dramatically improve our entire state highway system.”
The highway improvements were part of the governor’s $9 billion highway widening proposal he pitched in Gaithersburg last month. Montgomery County elected officials and several Democratic gubernatorial candidates have criticized the proposal for lacking details on how four lanes could be added to the already constrained highways among dense development in southern Montgomery County and Prince George’s County.
The Montgomery County Council’s Transportation Committee is scheduled to meet with state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn on Nov. 16 to discuss the highway widening proposal, according to Council President Roger Berliner.
Democrats have raised the possibility that the governor is proposing the project to help his re-election bid because the state has said a detailed project plan wouldn’t be available until after the November 2018 election.
When asked by Bethesda Beat Tuesday whether he’d like to respond to the questions about political motivations that Democrats have raised, Hogan accused them of being political.
“I can’t imagine anybody of either party that wants to see Montgomery County residents stuck in traffic for another 30 years. I think it’s purely political,” Hogan said of the criticism.
On Twitter, Kevin Kamenetz, the Democratic Baltimore County executive who is running for governor, responded to the quote by writing, “The only thing political here is the governor’s ‘plan’ which will conveniently remain devoid of any real details until after the election.”
Tuesday’s event was the sixth annual induction for the Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame, which now has 25 inductees.
The Hall of Fame was founded in 2012 by the accounting firm Grossberg LP and Revere Bank, formerly Monument Bank, to honor individuals who made a substantial impact on the county’s business community.