President Miller’s Transportation Plan Includes Local Option Gas Tax

As previously reported on Conduit Street, Senate President Mike Miller plans to introduce legislation this session to raise additional revenue for needed transportation projects, incorporating a combination of statewide revenues and local-option taxes, which are currently not enabled in Maryland. Now that the bill has been introduced, SB 830, there are more specifics with respect to the local-option taxes.  As reported by the Gazette:

According to the bill, introduced Tuesday by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach, each county has the option of imposing the tax at the wholesale level starting in 2017. But if the imposed rate is less than 5 cents per gallon, the state will collect the difference — meaning if the county rate was 3 cents per gallon, the state would collect the remaining 2 cents.

This principle would apply even if a county decided not to impose the additional tax; in that case, the full 5 cents would go to the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, according to the aide.

Only by imposing the tax themselves will county governments be able to control how that revenue is spent, the aide said.

MACo notes that the text of the bill as introduced would authorize counties to impose the local motor fuel tax (up to 5 cents) effective January 1, 2014, while the backup provision for a state-imposed tax to make up that difference becomes effective January 1, 2017 — thus, the three year window mentioned in the article.

The bill would also create two regional transit authorities and impose a new 3 percent state sales tax on the wholesale tax of gasoline.

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