Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Discusses Transportation Revenue Options

In its meeting on September 14, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee was briefed by staff from the Department of Legislative Services on transportation issues and revenue options.  The Committee also heard from Maryland’s Transportation Secretary, Beverly Swaim-Staley, who discussed immediate transportation funding concerns and business leaders who offered their support of a gas tax.

Some revenue options discussed include increases in the gas tax, vehicle registration fees, titling fees, and applying the sales tax to gasoline purchases.  A few others of particular interest to local governments include:

  • Imposing a regional sales tax to raise revenue for transit related expenditures
  • Requiring Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to pay 25% of the State’s costs for the operating and capital subsidy for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
  • Authorizing local governments to raise revenue through a motor fuel tax, personal income or personal property tax, or a vehicle charge to replace the local share of HUR

Although it appears Congress will approve a 6 month extension for transportation funding, this will still not allow projects to address congestion to move forward.  As reported by the Baltimore Sun:

Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley presented sobering news during the hearing: The cost to fund just the top priority project for each of the state’s 24 subdivisions would be $12 billion. She said that even if the General Assembly raises revenues and the federal government provides more funding than expected it is “very clear” that the state could not “knock off” the backlog of projects.

As reported by MarylandReporter.com, Greater Baltimore Committee President Donald Fry, Greater Washington Board of Trade President Jim Dinegar, and Maryland Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Government Affairs Allyson Black “all urged an increase in the state gas tax as a way to increase transportation money.”

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