The Gazette reports that at a recent transportation forum sponsored by the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce and 270inc Magazine, business leaders expressed support for an increase in the gas tax and implementing public-private partnerships to fund needed transportation projects.
Increasing the gas tax by 10 cents would produce $300 million in annual revenue that could be used for projects such as widening Interstate 270; the Corridor Cities Transitway, a proposed light-rail line along I-270 from Shady Grove to Clarksburg; and the Purple Line, a proposed rail line from Bethesda to New Carrollton, supporters said.
In Montgomery County, every key segment from business to labor and environmental supports raising the gas tax, said Lisa Fadden, vice president of public affairs for the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. “Still, even if we have a 10 cent increase and get $300 million a year, it will only make a dent” in funding the projects, she said.
The economic benefits to developing this revenue stream for transportation far outweigh the costs, said Rich Parsons, president of Parsons & Associates. “But we have to make sure that the money is used for transportation and the trust fund is not raided to fund other things,” he said.
Parsons added he has supported forming public-private partnerships for many years. The most inefficient option is to delay the projects, he said.