Governor’s Transportation Plan to be Heard in the House and Senate

Governor O’Malley plans to testify today on this transportation plan to impose the 6% sales tax on the sale of gasoline. This legislation would also restore some level of transportation aid to local governments.  However, not in the same manner as historically advocated by MACo.  MACo has consistently advocated for full restoration of Highway User Revenues back to the historic 70% State/30% local share.  Instead this proposal maintains the current 90% State/10% local share and establishes the Local Transportation Infrastructure Aid Account to allocate new revenues generated by the sales tax to local governments.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, the bill may face an up hill battle.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller — who before the session had all but promised that a gas tax increase would be approved — on Tuesday came close to ruling out an increase during the current 90-day session.

“As long as the gas price is high, I don’t see any appetite for a gas tax increase,” said Miller, a Calvert County Democrat. He suggested the climate for passage might be better if a special session were called later this year, especially if gas prices go back down to about $3 a gallon.

O’Malley said he’s open to amendments and negotiations — even a delay in the effective date until a time when gas prices seem less onerous. But he wants the General Assembly to take action before it adjourns April 9.

“There are 30 days left in the session,” he said. “I don’t see a reason to punt on first down.”

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