In June 2019, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Board named James F. Ports, Jr., to lead the 1,700-employee agency that oversees the State’s eight toll facilities and the E-ZPass Maryland system. As Executive Director, Mr. Ports manages the MDTA’s 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 works with MDTA Board Members to establish policy and strategic direction for the agency.
Mr. Ports was previously appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to serve as Deputy Secretary of Operations for the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) on January 27, 2015. In this capacity, he oversaw the operations of the agency’s six transportation modes: The State Highway Administration, Maryland Transit Administration; Motor Vehicle Administration; Maryland Aviation Administration including the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport; the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and the Maryland Transportation Authority. Mr. Ports returned to MDOT having previously served as Deputy Secretary from 2004 to 2007 during the administration of Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
Mr. Ports has extensive experience in multi-modal transportation and highway safety, serving as the Administrator and Chief Executive Officer for Harford County’s Transit system. In this capacity, he was responsible for the safe, effective, efficient operation and regulatory oversight of Harford County’s transit service including fixed bus routes and demand response service for the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Prior to joining Harford Transit, Mr. Ports served as the Deputy Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). He was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation with confirmation by President Bush. As Deputy Administrator, he managed the day-to-day operations of the Agency and oversaw the 10 Regional Offices across the nation. As the second highest ranking highway safety official in the nation, he was recognized as a national and international leader in vehicle, behavioral and roadway safety.
From 1991 thru 2002, Mr. Ports served in the Maryland General Assembly as a member of the House of Delegates. He was Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee. He also served on numerous House-Senate Joint Committees and subcommittees, including House Subcommittees on Transportation, Education and Taxes. He was also elected by his peers to serve as the Minority Whip.
While serving in the House of Delegates and prior to his first appointment to MDOT, Mr. Ports was employed by the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company. During his twenty-one year career, he rose through the ranks and held various positions including Supervisor of the Industrial and Commercial Gas Field Operations.
Mr. Ports served in the United States Marine Corps as a Sergeant (E5) and was a Crew Chief on the CH-46 Helicopter. He graduated boot camp with honors as the High PFT awardee, Marine of the Month HMM-264, Team Captain of the base soccer team for New River Air Station and earned several military medals including the Marine Expeditionary Medal. Mr. Ports is a life member of the VFW and the Marine Corps League.
Throughout his life, Mr. Ports has served in many capacities for the benefit of his Nation, State and community. Mr. Ports is an avid soccer fan. He and his wife Linda enjoyed coaching and watching their three children, Chris, Jon and Kelsey, play various sports.