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Maryland “FastTrack” initiative earns praise

Gov. Martin O’Malley earned kudos for the streamlined permitting program he unveiled Thursday from a source that rarely sees eye-to-eye with the Democratic chief executive — the conservative Maryland Business for Responsive Government.

“FastTrack” will allow developers to apply online for the streamlined state review, which will have agencies working concurrently to vet the project — rather than one at a time — and include oversight from the Department of Business and Economic Development and StateStat, the office O’Malley created to do data-driven analysis of government performance.

O’Malley signed an executive order Thursday morning to create the program.

“Governor O’Malley is taking a step in the right direction today by streamlining regulatory processes in Maryland departments and agencies,” MBRG President Kimberly M. Burns said in a written statement. “The executive order has potential to increase business productivity, investment and ultimately lead to job creation.”

The governor also announced the creation of the “Maryland Made Easy” website where DBED will build a consolidated, online permitting site.

“One of the ways in which we can create jobs, expand opportunity, and do it now, is by cutting the bureaucratic red tape,” said O’Malley said in a statement of his own. “We’re doing that with Maryland Made Easy, simplifying and streamlining the business licensing and permitting process — not just in specific agencies, but across our entire State government.”

“This is the FastTrack to expanding businesses in our state,” he said. “This is the FastTrack to jobs and opportunity, not in ‘a few years from now,’ but now.”