Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has shared the basics of an emerging plan to provide further funding for needed transportation projects, incorporating a combination of statewide revenues and local-option taxes, which are currently not enabled in Maryland. During a meeting with MACo and county leaders on January 23, the framework of a plan was a topic of substantial preliminary discussion. The President has also shared some elements of the plan through the media.
Under Miller’s proposal, the state would impose a new 3 percent sales tax on gasoline at the wholesale level.
Miller’s proposal would also include a regional tax that would allow counties to collect up to five cents per gallon for transportation projects specifically benefiting them. Maryland’s 23.5-cent-per-gallon tax has been unchanged since 1992.
Miller acknowledged his plan, expected to be introduced next week, is still in the working phase. But he said it could generate $300 million a year in new revenue and the framework is in place to give it a chance.
The still-developing plan apparently also reaches into public-private partnership opportunities, and potentially new regional authorities covering transit service areas.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) also floated the idea of leasing the $2.6 billion Intercounty Connector (ICC) to a private operator as he outlined an approach to raising new revenue to help alleviate traffic congestion and covering the state’s share of long-planned rail projects.
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In addition, the state would create one or more regional authorities with the power to raise property taxes to help pay for the Purple Line in the Washington region and the Red Line in Baltimore. Neither light-rail project is expected to move forward without major federal funding as well.