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O'Malley on tolls: Bay Bridge more costly to paint than build

Tuesday - 8/23/2011, 8:31am  ET

(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

Ask the Governor

Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks with WTOP's Mark Segraves


WASHINGTON -- Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley was a guest Monday on WTOP's "Ask the Gov" program.

"It would cost more to paint the Bay Bridge than it did to build it," O'Malley said, referencing an upcoming rise in tolls.

Toll increases "need to keep pace" with increased costs, particularly for transportation projects like widening Interstate 95 and building the InterCounty Connector, he said, adding the state will try to "index" a toll increase.

The governor continued a discussion he had with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on CNN on Sunday, on their diverging approaches to job growth. Maryland ranks 8th among states for new job growth, which is higher than Virginia, he said, though that state has a lower unemployment rate at 6.1 percent compared to to Maryland's 7.2 percent.

O'Malley also addressed his recent shift from opting for civil unions to outright support of gay marriage. Sacraments should be left to churches and religious faiths, he said, but governments of law need to protect rights among people.

He offered his support for McDonnell, a Republican, as an attractive candidate "for his party" for Vice President of the U.S.

In case you missed the program, listen to the full audio at right or check out this live blog:

10:55 a.m., speaking about unfunded the importance of state projects:

In the 30 years since I graduated from Gonzaga High School, more land has been taken up with development in Maryland as was in the prior 300 year history of our state.

The likely trajectory of that land consumption, over the next 30 years it will become a state we won't recognize.

Plan Maryland is about that -- making good land-use decisions.

We are going to be putting forward a state development plan, which we had never had before, because of "thorny issues" between state and county jurisdictions.

10:53 a.m., speaking about admission to state colleges:

The University of Maryland has become very competitive. There was a myth going around that it was taking many more students from out of state or out of country to make up for the freeze in tuition. That myth is false.

We live in a state that has more PhD parents than any other state in America.

10:52 a.m., speaking about a bag tax like D.C.'s:

I don't know.

10:51 a.m., speaking about Gov. McDonnell as a VP candidate:

In his party, sure, I think he would be a very attractive candidate.

10:46 a.m., speaking about gay marriage:

I intend to sponsor a gay marriage bill as a part of a legislative package.

I think we are past the point of looking to civil unions for this issue.

The consensus we will reach is on marriage equality rights.

I hope it passes, I think it should pass. With very day that goes by, people become more comfortable with the notion that laws need to be protected equally in a civil society.

Sacraments should be left to churches and religious faiths, but a government of law needs to protect rights among all people.

10:42 a.m., speaking about toll increases:

The Maryland Transportation Authority has been looking into this, making sure those tolls keep pace with the need to pay the bonds used to pay for things like the InterCounty Connector and widening I-95. That bond is very heavily leveraged with the building, for the first time in history, of those two simultaneous projects.

It will now cost more to paint the Bay Bridge than it will to build it.

Tolls will be going up. And that's not the only place where we're looking.

"They have to keep pace. Probably, what we should do is index them somehow."

10:37 a.m., speaking about politicians' vacations:

"I don't believe that we give our leaders, particularly our national leaders, enough space for solitude."

President Obama, after he's done with this job, will still be a father, still be a husband.

I don't take as much time off as I should. I was down in a conference in Ocean City recently, but I spent most of that time working.

10:34 a.m., speaking about illegal immigration:

"I'm not aware of illegal immigrants coming into our state 'in droves.'"

10:30 a.m., speaking about mitigating the number of federal employees on the road during rush hour:

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