MACo Testifies in Opposition to the Governor’s Transportation Plan

Hearings were held yesterday in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and the House Environmental Matters and Ways and Means Committees on the Governor’s Transportation Plan, SB 971/HB 1302.  As reported by MarylandReporter.com, the bills received very differing reactions from those who were there to testify.

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to raise transportation funds with a 6% sales tax on gasoline was hailed both as a way to raise money for needed infrastructure projects and derided as a way to kill local jobs in gas stations and trucking companies at hearings in House and Senate committees Wednesday.

MACo testified in opposition to these bills, commenting that it has consistently advocated for the full restoration of Highway User Revenues (HUR), but this plan does not restore HUR, it creates a new account, the Local Transportation Infrastructure Aid Account to provide some level of additional funding to local jurisdictions.  MACo advocated for the existing HUR program to be used to fund local roadways.
MACo also pointed out that this plan will not restore local jurisdictions back to the historic 30% share of HUR.  From MACo’s testimony:

Further, this proposal would only restore counties to 42% of their 2008 funding level with no future enhancements to bring counties back to their proportional share, nor bring local governments back to the full 30% share of HUR.  Maryland’s local governments have a direct effect on the transportation system of our state and are responsible for more than 80% of Maryland’s road miles.  Maryland’s citizens do not know where state road maintenance stops and local road maintenance begins.  They simply know that they pay taxes on their vehicles and fuel and have an expectation of travel on good, safe roadways.  MACo believes that our transportation system should be operated as one system with State and local roadways being maintained.  The sharing of HUR has enhanced this relationship for years and any transportation package should work toward restoring this state and local partnership, not putting a new program in its place.

Other news coverage can be found in the publications below:
Baltimore Sun (has limited viewing)

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