Tourism is Maryland’s 4th largest industry and has an economic impact on our state by creating jobs, increasing tax revenue, and creating thriving communities — especially in our rural counties.
Here are the specific and tangible proposals I would work on as Governor:
Create a Department of Outdoor Recreation
While our current Office of Tourism sits within our state’s Department of Commerce, I believe we must dedicate more resources and staff to fully increase access to our state’s natural resources, public lands and outdoor recreation.
This new department will not only have the full weight and influence of a Cabinet-level agency within the Executive Branch of our state, but will allow us to better support local ancillary services like hotels, restaurants, bars, museums and theaters.
Without a way to get to or travel within a destination, fewer tourists will find a way to visit. Furthermore — for residents who do not currently have access to mass transit — expanding the availability of ride-sharing programs like Uber and Lyft will help increase accessibility around town and provide employment opportunities.
Office Of Rural Broadband
The direct impact tourism has upon business development would not be possible in many instances without broadband. We also need to ensure all residents have the appropriate (and equal) internet infrastructure needed to thrive and participate in the economic/social growth of our state.
We can accomplish this by installing 5g antennas on existing utility poles, streetlights, libraries and government buildings. This will not only allow better connectivity and faster internet speeds for residents and tourists, but increase competition among carriers, thus driving down costs in the long-term.
Expanding MARC services to Western Maryland (via expanding the Brunswick MARC and adding a third rail) would allow individuals living in Western Maryland to take part in job market growth in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia metropolitan area.
MARC train services can also be improved for the rest of the state by ensuring we have all day/weekend services.