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Baltimore PR firm joins campaign for gas tax hike

A well-connected Baltimore public relations firm has joined the campaign to raise taxes and fees to pay for transportation projects in Maryland.

Kearney O’Doherty Public Affairs LLC is directing the marketing for a nonprofit coalition of labor and transportation advocates calling itself Transportation Infrastructure Now.

KO Public Affairs is the same firm that successfully led the campaign to expand casino gambling last year, representing a coalition of labor unions backed by gambling giant MGM Resorts International Inc.

Rod Easter, president of the Baltimore Building and Construction Trades Council, Martin G. Knott Jr., chairman of the Maryland Economic Development Corp. and Michele Whelley, president and CEO of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, are all members of the coalition. Advertisements paid for by the group have been placed on The Baltimore Sun’s website.

The group argues that increasing the gas taxes and transit fares to pay for transportation projects would create jobs. The House of Delegates is expected to pass House Bill 1515, the transportation bill, on Friday.