Two Special Sessions Make Sense, Not Three

In an opinion piece in the Gazette, Barry Rascovar shares his view that holding two special sessions to address the budget and gaming make sense.  However, he also references a possible third to deal with transportation revenue.  He ultimately raises the possibility of linking the expansion of gaming to transportation revenues. From the Gazette:

O’Malley also is on record favoring a third special legislative session to deal with Maryland’s chronic shortage of funds for transportation projects already in the pipeline.

One way to avoid calling a third session is to earmark a substantial portion of the state’s proceeds from table games and the Prince George’s casino for transportation. That might lessen the need for a massive gas tax increase and avoid angering constituents.

The governor is in a bind. He doesn’t have the votes to win approval of a higher gas tax. Yet there are few other ways to raise billions for transportation.

While the mixture of gambling and the state budget proved toxic in the last legislative session, the same might not be true for gambling and transportation. Tying them together might obviate the need for a third gathering of legislators this year — and get O’Malley off the gas-tax hook.

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