Miller on Restoring HUR: “We’re Going To Try”

While addressing the Maryland Municipal League (MML) during their annual fall conference, Senate President Mike Miller indicated that efforts will be made to maintain the level of local roads funding provided in fiscal 2014 in the upcoming fiscal year during the 2014 General Assembly session.  As reported in the BAYNET.COM:

“We’re going to try to get you extra money with the gas tax,” said Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. [D-District 27], who noted Gov. Martin O’Malley [D] has taken a considerable amount of heat due to the higher levy on motorists. Miller’s announcement of more road money for the towns and cities was received with applause.

MACo and MML have both adopted the restoration of HUR as one if its top initiatives for the upcoming session.

Until recently, Maryland’s long-standing and wise policy has been to provide HUR as the primary source of revenue for local roads maintenance budgets, including snow removal, patching and chip sealing, signage and pavement stripping and drainage work. This policy took a drastic turn in fiscal 2010 when HUR was significantly reduced and transferred to the State’s General Fund to help weather the economic downturn. Prior to these reductions taking place, local governments received 30% of HUR and the State received 70%. Now local governments are receiving just under 10% of these revenues leaving locally managed roadways startlingly underfunded and dependent on the property tax for support.

A former Commission recommended the incremental restoration of HUR back to the original shared distribution and both organizations would like to see movement in this direction. Together, counties and municipalities are responsible for 81% of the road miles in the State.

However, local governments are not sharing in any of the new transportation revenues generated through legislation which passed last session to index the gas tax and apply a sales tax to the retail price of gasoline.  MACo believes transportation infrastructure solutions should benefit Maryland’s transportation system as a whole and local governments must be a part of the funding picture.