Editorial: FACT Strategy

FACT strategy

The Frederick News-Post Editorial

Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:00 am

The Frederick County Commissioners provided a $25,000 allotment to the Frederick Area Committee for Transportation, which FACT is using to hire Greenwill Consulting Group. Greenwill’s task will be to lobby for the area’s many and varied transportation funding needs.

Lobbying is often characterized as an unsavory business, and in lots of instances, we’d readily agree — particularly as it’s sometimes practiced on Capitol Hill. Statehouses haven’t exactly been immune to the influence of power and money either.

But there’s a difference between a lobbyist trying to finagle a member of Congress to favor his client in a huge Defense Department contract or critical energy policy, and trying to make the case for a local jurisdiction’s transportation funding that will benefit the community at large.

According to FACT’s page on the Frederick County website, it’s a volunteer group that has been active for more than 20 years. Former Frederick Alderwoman Carol Krimm is currently president of FACT and appears to be a good choice for that position. She’s had experience as an elected official, and has worked and volunteered in government in a wide variety of ways. She’s also keenly interested in transportation issues.

Funding for transportation projects is hard to come by these days, but FACT is setting its sights on securing Frederick County’s fair share. This is a dynamic, growing area, as well as a key player on the statewide scene. Its transportation needs are important.

FACT will be concentrating on the Maryland Legislature for the next three months, and will then turn its attention to Congress, where Maryland is lucky to have two influential veterans in Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

Krimm says FACT is currently focused on three priorities: the proposed Buses on Shoulders program, which she helped promote at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments; projects that would affect Frederick Municipal Airport; and Fort Detrick, which is already a large, important complex and will be more so in the future.

Greenwill government relations associate Jeanette Ortiz will be a key person promoting FACT’s agenda. Ortiz has ties with officials such as Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, for whom she has worked. While we think Frederick’s needs speak convincingly for themselves, it never hurts to know and have a professional history with officials such as Brown, who may be Maryland’s next governor.

One of the most immediate and pressing area transportation issues for Frederick County is the steadily deteriorating situation on I-270 from here to Germantown. We editorialized not long ago in support of the Buses on Shoulders concept and hope it is given thorough consideration as one potential way to mitigate the daily rush-hour ordeal on I-270. FACT’s contribution to the discussion should help.

Greenwill has been enlisted to help make the case for transportation funding that will benefit Frederick County’s residents and economy — now and “down the road.” That sounds to us like a responsible use of public funds.