At a meeting of the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Federal Relations, a representative from the Department of Transportation said that Maryland could lose millions if the federal gas tax is not renewed or if transportation reauthorization is not extended at existing levels. Both must be approved by the end of September. According to the Gazette.Net:
If Congress does not renew the tax or extend transportation authorization funds at existing levels, Maryland might need to make program cuts and scale back scheduled projects, said Caitlin Hughes Rayman, assistant secretary for transportation policy and freight for the Maryland Department of Transportation.
Federal funds pay for about 50 percent of all Maryland transportation projects. Under the current funding authorization levels, Maryland receives $750 million per year from the federal government for highways and mass transit projects.
With respect to the federal gas tax and other transportation programs –
Hughes Rayman and other experts who spoke to the committee also said it is highly unlikely political leaders would get behind an increase to the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax and that some of the federal government’s more than 100 individual transportation programs are likely to be consolidated or eliminated.
“[Cuts in federal allocations] will come at the expense of advancing some projects and making some shifts in out years,” Hughes Rayman said.