BALTIMORE — The Maryland Transportation Authority board on June 27 named James F. Ports Jr. as executive director of the 1,700-employee agency that oversees the state’s eight toll facilities and the E-ZPass Maryland system.

Ports has served as deputy secretary of operations for the Maryland Department of Transportation since 2015. He also served as MDOT deputy secretary from 2004 to 2007 during the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

The new position is effective immediately.

Prior to being named deputy secretary of operations for MDOT, Ports served as administrator and CEO for the Harford County Transit system and as deputy administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1991 through 2002.

“I’m honored to have the trust of the Hogan administration and the chairman and board members of the MDTA,” Ports said. “Working side by side with the outstanding MDTA team, we’ll build on efforts to serve our citizens by constructing, operating and improving Maryland’s toll facilities. I thank Chief Operating Officer John O’Neill for his leadership as the MDTA’s acting executive director since April.

The new executive director will manage MDTA daily operations, including the nationally accredited MDTA Police, a $324.4 million annual operating budget and a $3.1 billion six-year capital program. He also will work with the MDTA board to establish policy and strategic direction for the agency.

Ports served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a sergeant and was crew chief on a CH-46 helicopter. He earned several military medals including the Marine Expeditionary Medal. He is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and of the Marine Corps League.

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