As previously reported on Conduit Street, Senate President Mike Miller recently 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. More details are now available. As reported by the Baltimore Sun:
Baltimore and Maryland’s counties could impose their own 5-cents-a-gallon tax on gas to pay for local roads and buses under a proposal by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
Miller also proposed Thursday leasing a state toll highway to a private operator to raise money for mass-transit projects in Baltimore and the Washington suburbs.
The Washington Post also reported details of the plan:
Miller shared other provisions of his plan in an interview this week with The Washington Post. Those include levying a 3 percent sales tax on gas in addition to the per-gallon gas tax; and creating regional authorities with the ability to raise property taxes to help pay for rail projects.
Miller also suggested a long-term lease of the $2.6 billion Intercounty Connector to a private operator to generate immediate cash for other Maryland transportation priorities.
Some believe creating regional transportation authorities could lead to inequities in the State’s Transportation System. As reported by the Gazette:
But creating regional transit authorities could lead to a system that favors the more-affluent areas and results in first- and second-class transportation systems, said Neil Bergsman, director of the nonprofit Maryland Budget & Tax Policy Institute.
A Montgomery County could potentially raise money very quickly, while Baltimore city would have a much tougher time, he said.