President Miller’s Transportation Bill – What’s in it for the Counties?

Previous posts on Conduit Street have provided a broad overview of Senate President Mike Miller’s legislation (SB 830) to raise additional revenue for needed transportation projects, incorporating a combination of statewide revenues and local-option taxes.  Below is a summary of the bill’s components.

Transit Benefit Districts Authorizes the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to establish no more than two transit benefit districts, one for the Baltimore Metropolitan Region and one for the Washington Metropolitan RegionMTA defines the district boundaries and establishes the membership of the governing body; local governments are required to be represented in proportion to the size of the district within the boundary

Local government must be consulted before transit benefit district is established, but does not have authority to approve, alter, or reject the district

Transit district may impose a state property tax on property within the boundary, the county would be responsible for collecting the tax in the same manner as the current statewide property tax. Property tax would follow same procedure, sale and lien priority as the county property tax

Transit Benefit District may issue bonds independently and the bonds would not count against any county debt limitations , debt is solely that of the benefit district, not a debt of the State or political subdivision

County Motor Fuel Tax Authorizes a county to impose up to a 5 cent motor fuel tax on the wholesale price of motor fuelOn or after July 1, 2017, if a county imposes less than 5 cents, a tax in the amount of the difference between the two rates will automatically be imposed

Revenue generated by the motor fuel tax directly imposed by the county will be distributed to the county where the retail service station is located

Revenue generated through additional tax rate to bring the county rate to 5 cents,  will be distributed to the Gasoline and Motor Vehicle Revenue Account of the Transportation Trust Fund

Requires the revenue generated to be used for transportation projects, except Baltimore City can use funds for school construction projects contingent upon legislation taking effect

Sales tax on Gasoline Applies a 3% sales and use tax semiannually to the average semiannual retail price of motor fuelThe Comptroller determines  both the average semiannual retail price and the sales and use tax equivalentSales and use tax will be adjusted July 1 and January 1 of each year

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