This weekend, the Baltimore Sun’s “Getting There” blog (focusing on traffic and transportation issues) featured an item discussing local transportation funding woes, and the effects on road conditions. From the article:
Under the state Constitution, the general fund must be balanced each year, but there is no requirement that the state maintain any minimum level of transportation spending. Thus, when the recession cut deeply into state revenues, local transportation funds proved to be an irresistible source of money to fill the general fund gap.
The state has siphoned money from that particular well to deal with previous budget shortfalls. Under Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., about $250 million was taken in 2005-2006.
But those diversions look picayune compared with the ones that have taken place under Gov. Martin O’Malley since the nation plunged into a recession in 2008-2009. If the current budget goes through as planned, the state will have diverted about $1 billion in road funds from localities to the general fund over three budget years.
That’s why Baltimore County saw a reduction of its state aid for road repair from $43.2 million in 2007 to an expected $1.3 million in 2012. Anne Arundel County, once the recipient of more than $30 million, has staggered along with less that $1 million in recent years. The numbers in Harford and Carroll look a lot like Howard’s.