DLS Briefs Budget Committees on Transportation Revenue Options

The budget committees, House Appropriations and Senate Budget and Taxation, both held briefings this week to discuss transportation revenue options.  Staff of the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) provided a brief overview of fiscal year 2013 revenues and spending,  and a Transportation Trust Fund Outlook.  From the presentation,

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) forecast includes a $1.9 billion in debt issuances to support the capital program, based on expectations met in revenue growth and spending.

Based upon the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) forecast, MDOT’s $5.7 billion special fund capital program could be more than $2.0 billion less than forecasted.

Some of the specific issues examined were also raised by DLS when presenting an overview of the TTF to the Spending Affordability Committee.  Based on current projections, “by fiscal 2018, special fund highway capital spending will be focused solely on system preservation.”

To relieve some of this pressure, staff presented alternative financing and policy options the General Assembly may want to consider, some of which could be used for financing transit lines.  Alternative financing options include availability payments, transportation infrastructure finance and innovation Act, value capture, and local option revenues.  As a part of this discussion, DLS provided a chart showing highway spending versus transit spending for fiscal 1992 through fiscal year 2013.

With respect to local Highway User Revenues (HUR), DLS’s presentation states that, “to what extent the local share of HUR is restored or increased will need to be considered as part of any revenue increase.”

Lastly, DLS provided an overview of recent revenue proposals, including the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding recommendations and other legislative proposals.

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