As previously reported, a number of bills have been introduced to provide a “lockbox” to protect transportation funds from being transferred to the General Fund. SB 403, Transportation Trust Fund – Dedicated Highway Funds, sponsored by Senator David Brinkley, seeks to do the same. As reported by the Frederick News Post:
Maryland Sen. David Brinkley is seeking to amend the state constitution in an effort to protect the transportation trust fund, a pot of money fueled by gas and car titling taxes, as well as fees and other revenue sources. In past years, the state has siphoned dollars from the fund to bolster the general fund, a practice Brinkley said needs to stop.
“The integrity has to be restored to the transportation ‘mistrust’ fund,” the Republican lawmaker said in an interview. “You can’t go harvesting dedicated funds to balance the budget.”
Whereas, this bill would protect funds in the Transportation Trust Fund from transfer to the general fund, it does not include language to protect the local share of Highway User Revenues (HUR) and restore the HUR distribution back to the historical 70% State/30% local government split. MACo’s Legislative Committee has reviewed this bill and approved the organization supporting this bill with amendments to protect and restore the local share of HUR.
MACo will be taking the same position on Senator Garagiola’s bill, SB 441, since it also does not protect and restore the local share of HUR.
MACo has supported HB 23, introduced by Delegate Herb McMillan and HB 146, introduced by Delegate Susan Krebs, because both bills protect transportation funding and the local share of Highway User Revenues.