Conversation On Transportation Funding Continues

Friday’s Gazette included an article covering a number of stakeholder perspectives on transportation needs, including the dire situation facing local roads and bridges. Among those quotes in the article were MACo’s current and immediate past presidents:

From Ken Ulman:

Last week, following the announcement of a coalition of business groups to fight for transportation dollars, Howard County Executive Kenneth Ulman (D) said he wants legislators to know the distress counties feel as they are unable to fix local roads.

“We understand the need to be at the table and part of the solution,” Ulman said. “The biggest point I want to leave with people is this is significant pain for the counties.”

. . .

Highway user revenues, intended to finance local transportation projects, have been drastically cut in the past several years. Monies allocated to Howard were reduced by 97 percent, or $15.5 million, between fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2012.

Ulman lamented that [Senator Rob] Garagiola’s bill will not restore any local funding this year.

“I have great respect for the senator and I think he’s on the right track, but clearly from a county perspective we would like to see progress on the local share,” he said.

From David Craig:

In Harford County, where highway funds were cut by $16 million in that time, County Executive David Craig (R) said he is concerned about transportation money primarily being directed toward mass transit systems in Baltimore and the Washington suburbs. Two passenger train projects — the Red Line and the Purple Line — are planned for those regions. Each is expected to cost more than $1 billion. In September, O’Malley announced $90 million for engineering work on the projects.

“I do support trying to get [the transportation money] back in as much as possible, but when it comes to the gasoline tax, I don’t see many delegates and many senators being supportive of it,” Craig said.

Read the full article here.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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