The Gazette reports that the Maryland Municipal League (MML) has sent a letter to legislative leaders seeking the use of funds from the proposed gaming expansion to be targeted to restoring some funding previously directed to municipal roadways through the Highway User Revenue formula.
“Over the past several years, the General Assembly has addressed education funding needs through a variety of additional funding sources, but unfortunately the transportation needs of the state are still being neglected,” [Maryland Municipal League President Judith “J”] Davis wrote.
Highway User Revenues were cut drastically in the past several years due to the recession. If fully funded from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2012, municipal governments would have received about $135 million. Instead, they received $35 million, Davis wrote.
During the same three year period, county governments have lost nearly $1 billion in transportation funding by the diversion of highway user revenues to state purposes. The highway user revenue distribution was for decades the mechanism to provide local funding (as a dedicated share of motor fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees) for the many road miles under local maintenance. Currently, county and municipal governments maintain roughly 5 of every 6 road miles across the state, but most do so with virtually no share of state revenues, nor any authority to levy their own transportation revenues.