Gov. Martin O'Malley named Deputy Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley as acting secretary of transportation Thursday, replacing John D. Porcari, whose nomination by President Barack Obama as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation was confirmed last week.
Swaim-Staley, a veteran Maryland transportation official, will take over Monday, when Porcari will be sworn in as the No. 2 official in the federal department. Swaim-Staley became deputy in 2007 after Porcari was named to the secretary post for his second go-round. She served a previous term as No. 2 in the Maryland department when Porcari was secretary in the administration of Gov. Parris N. Glendening.
Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for O'Malley, said the administration has launched a nationwide search for a permanent successor.
The spokesman said he could not say how long Swaim-Staley might serve in an acting capacity but said the governor is confident she can handle the job "as long as it takes." Adamec said Swaim-Staley would be among those considered for the post.
In an interview Thursday afternoon, Swaim-Staley said she is a candidate for the top job - which would make her the first woman in Maryland to serve in that position. "I would be interested. Obviously, that decision is up to the governor," she said.
Swaim-Staley, 52, said her priorities will be keeping Maryland's transportation projects funded by the federal stimulus bill on track, protecting Maryland's interests as the Congress considers a new long-range transportation spending bill and managing the state's transportation trust fund.