A federal decision to withhold millions of dollars in transportation funding drew sharp and profane criticism down on one member of Gov. Larry Hogan’s transportation department.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Monday night expressed frustration and irritation after the state missed a Feb. 9 deadline to create a three-jurisdiction board to oversee safety issues for the Washington D.C. Metro system. The missed deadline prompted federal officials to announce that it would withhold about $5 million from the state.
Miller focused some of his irritation on officials within the Maryland Department of Transportation.
“There’s millions of dollars we’re losing right now because some asshole, pardon my French, sat on his ass, pardon my French,” Miller said. “It’s unbelievable. I’m sorry. I’m a little upset. It’s just, it should have been resolved. Someone should have taken care of it. I apologize for my language, but let’s move forward.”
Following the meeting, Miller told The Daily Record that he was referring to Kevin Reigrut, an official at the state transportation agency who was formerly a staffer for Republican Rep. Andy Harris.
Prior to his appointment as executive director of the Maryland Transportation Authority, Reigrut represented the governor on Metro issues.
The Senate president did not explain why Reigrut drew his ire.
Erin Henson, a spokeswoman for the department, defended Reigrut Tuesday, saying “nobody worked harder.”
“Kevin Reigrut worked with our partners in Maryland and Virginia for hundreds of hours over the last year to get this legislation drafted,” Henson said. “He also has had robust engagement with the General Assembly on this legislation, including working with Senator Feldman, Delegate Barron and Delegate Korman.”
Miller told the Senate that he had a discussion with Hogan when the two attended a weekend basketball game at the University of Maryland.
“The governor told me Saturday that the reason it hadn’t been taken care of was that we didn’t come into session until January,” Miller told the Senate on Monday as Sen. Brian J. Feldman, D-Montgomery County, attempted to explain the issue.
Feldman sponsored a bill that establishing how the the state would appoint members to that board even as a bill establishing the panel sits in the House Environment and Transportation Committee.
“Here’s the issue,” Miller said. “It’s a lot of money We saw what we can do last week if we want to move a bill. You saw it. We need a bill introduced tomorrow that can move through the Senate posthaste.”
“Why don’t we get one in the Senate?” Miller said to Feldman “We don’t control the House. You just do what you’ve got to do. Get a bill out of here, too, OK?”
“Amend an existing bill, OK and get the goddamned bill to the floor,” Miller said.
Feldman on Tuesday amended his bill with the full text of the legislation sitting in the House of Delegates.
A final vote in the Senate is expected on Wednesday.