As reported by the Gazette, Senate President Mike Miller has said that he favors a super-majority vote to transfer transportation funds to the State General Fund, instead of a constitutional amendment that prohibits a transfer. It is felt that an additional level of protection for the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) will garner the support of transportation and business advocates for an increase in the gas tax in the upcoming session.
As called for by Miller, a super-majority vote requires the consent of three-fifths of the 47 members of the Senate and the 141 members of the House of Delegates.
Such a provision would help allay potential fear on the part of voters that money collected from a hike in the gas tax would go to fund projects other than those aimed at improving Maryland’s transportation system and infrastructure, Miller said.
As previously reported, The Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding, has recommended that a constitutional amendment be adopted to protect the TTF. However, recognizing the difficulty associated with a constitutional amendment, the Commission also recommended that a statute be enacted that requires the Governor and the General Assembly to declare a fiscal emergency and to obtain approval of each house of the General Assembly, along with a repayment plan, before making a transfer of money from the TTF to the General Fund for non-transportation purposes.