Counties Make Their Case for Transportation Funding

The Local and Regional Transportation Funding Task Force held its second meeting on October 2 to discuss local transportation funding trends and needs. MACo Legislative Director, Andrea Mansfield, was joined by Anne Arundel County Deputy Director of Highways Greg Africa, Queen Anne’s County Director of Public Works Todd Mohn, and Wicomico County Finance Director Andy Mackel to make comments before the group.  Ms. Mansfield expressed the need for a broad-based and equitable system of transportation financing, while other members of the panel shared the severe effects Highway User Revenue reductions have had on roadways and county budgets.  Below is excerpt from the MACo testimony:

Counties are critical to Maryland’s transportation system, however, significant funding reductions and diversions totaling more than $1.5 billion have created many challenges in helping to oversee and maintain this system. Whereas jurisdictions relied on a combination of State and local sources to maintain their more than 80% share of Maryland’s road miles, reductions in Highway User Revenue (HUR) have left locally managed roadways startlingly underfunded and dependent on the still-dropping property tax for support.

County representatives also shared their concerns about the effects of reductions on the safety of Maryland’s roadways and stated that “any solution should benefit Maryland’s transportation system as a whole and local governments must be a part of this funding picture.”

The Maryland Municipal League also presented before the Task Force.

Other presentations during the meeting focused on funding mechanisms for local highways and regional transit.  Joung Lee, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, presented on local funding mechanisms used in other states such as local option sales taxes, motor fuel taxes, income taxes, and vehicle registration fees.

Jennifer Mitchell, a consultant with Parsons Brinckerhoff, presented on local funding mechanisms for transit, which include many of the same options. She also discussed Value Capture Mechanisms, such as tax increment financing, special assessments, and development impact fees, which were used to help finance the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

The next meeting of the Task Force will be held on Tuesday, October 22 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Meeting materials can be found on the Task Force website.

Coverage of the first meeting can be found on MACo’s blog, Conduit Street.

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