(From left to right: COG Chair Michael Knapp, Sen. Cardin's Chief of Staff Chris Lynch, U.S. Representative Tom Davis and COG President Redella Pepper)
Washington, D.C. – At its Annual Membership and Awards Luncheon, COG presented this year’s Elizabeth and David Scull Metropolitan Public Service Award to U.S. Representative Tom Davis and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin for their leadership in helping the region secure a dedicated funding source for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. This award is presented to outstanding elected officials who have shown great determination and perseverance in improving the metropolitan Washington region.
Rep. Tom Davis, (R-VA 11th) introduced the funding legislation in the House of Representatives and together with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), worked tirelessly to keep the issue at the forefront of the Congressional agenda. The funding measure was signed by President Bush in October and authorizes $1.5 billion over 10 years in matching funding for capital improvements needed by WMATA. This action is crucial during a time when transit systems across the country are experiencing a surge in demand and Metrorail expects to have a record-breaking year in terms of ridership.
“I am very pleased that Congress has recognized the transit needs of the federal government and the national capital area. I want to thank our partners in the Senate for their help meeting this vital regional and national need,” said Davis. “And of course, I am much honored that COG has presented Sen. Cardin and me with the Scull Award.”
COG initially called attention to Metro’s funding shortfalls in 2005 when it worked with the Greater Washington Board of Trade and Federal City Council to sponsor a blue ribbon panel of transportation funding experts to examine the issue. COG recognizes the persistent efforts of the entire Congressional delegation from the metropolitan Washington region by acknowledging the leading roles that Tom Davis and Ben Cardin assumed in securing this critical source of funding for Metro.
“I am honored to receive the Scull Award and thankful that COG has persistently kept Metro funding one of its top priorities,” said Cardin. “Metro is integral to the daily movements of the federal workforce and the economic health of our region, but it has been the only major public transportation system in the country without a dedicated source of funding. I am pleased that we were able to renew and maintain such a vital source of strength for our region.”
Following 14 years of service on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, including a 3-year period as Board Chairman, Tom Davis was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1994. He has served Virginia’s 11th District for six terms. During his tenure, as a local and federal elected official, Davis has ardently worked to advance the interests of the region. He served as COG President in 1993. Davis has also been an influential leader on funding for the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge, voting representation in Congress for the District of Columbia, and direct management of federal education funds by local school districts. As Chairman of the House Committee and Government Reform from 2003 until 2007, Davis oversaw numerous hearings and legislative proposals concerning Homeland Security.
Ben Cardin has dedicated his career to public service in support of Maryland and the National Capital Region. Following 20 years as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, including eight years as the body’s Speaker, Cardin was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1986. During his time in the House, Cardin placed issues concerning transportation, energy, homeland security, the environment, and veterans’ rights – all of great importance to this region – among his top priorities. In 2006, Cardin was elected to the United States Senate. As a Senator, Cardin serves on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Committee on the Budget, and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, among others.
COG’s Corporate Officers for 2009 were also named at the Luncheon. Phil Mendelson, District of Columbia Councilmember and current Chair of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) will serve as COG President. Alan Imhoff, Alderman for the City of Frederick, and Frank Principi, Woodbridge District Supervisor will serve as Vice Presidents. Greenbelt Mayor Judith F. Davis will serve as Secretary-Treasurer.