Transit Spending Debated During Transportation Budget Hearing

During the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee budget hearing on Transportation, committee members debated transit spending, with some questioning “why drivers should pay the cost of running the transit system.”  From coverage by MarylandReporter.com:

…Darrell Mobley, acting secretary of transportation, was prepared for hostile questions at Tuesday’s hearing on the MDOT budget, and he began his presentation with an admonition to senators, telling them to ignore the hype regarding supposed inequities in transportation spending.

Mobley defended his department’s budget, saying that its provisions for additional transit spending were justified by the fact that the department had historically spent more on roads than the transit system.  Until 2001, the transportation department spent more on highways than on any other sector of the transportation system, and in some years since, the department has spent millions more on roads than on transit, he said.

Committee members were not persuaded by this argument:

…many of the senators on the Budget and Taxation Committee, including Howard County Democrat James Robey, who informed the secretary that he believed a significant amount of transit funds were being wasted on buses and subways that the public rarely used.

“I see many, many transit vehicles going around with no riders,” Robey said.

Sen. David Brinkley, R-Frederick, urged the secretary to cut under-used bus routes in order to conserve transportation department funds.

Coverage of the House Appropriations hearing on transportation can also be found on Conduit Street.  During the House hearing, committee members raised questions and concerns with the long-term diversion of transportation revenues away from the long-required use for local roads and bridges.

DLS Transportation Overview (budget analysis)

A complete listing of all fiscal 2014 budget documents affecting county governments can be found on MACo’s website under Research, then Budget and Tax.

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