The Southern Maryland newspapers online at the website SoMdNews.com have hailed the efforts by county and state cleanup crews in addressing this week’s major snowfall events. From the opinion piece published on January 24:
As usual, county and State Highway Administration road crews stood at the ready and began tackling the daunting task of getting the roads treated well before the first flakes fell Tuesday afternoon. They worked well into the wee hours of Wednesday morning and through most of Wednesday afternoon attempting to plow the fluffy snow, which eventually turned into slick ice on most roadways.
County Public Works departments – responsible for neighborhood snow removal – have historically been funded primarily through the share of state-imposed fuel and vehicle taxes, known as Highway User Revenues. MACo has adopted a restoration of deep cuts to those local funds as a top priority for the 2014 legislative session:
Transportation Funding Restoration
Funding to local governments has been reduced significantly over the past several years as the State has worked to address its structural deficit. The largest of these reductions has been to Highway User Revenues (HUR), an unprecedented 95% reduction, which has made it extremely difficult for local governments to maintain and improve their local roadways. 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. A former Commission recommended the incremental restoration of HUR back to the original shared distribution and a new task force will look at HUR as a part of its charge. MACo urges state policymakers to evaluate highway funding and the effects of these drastic local reductions to Maryland’s roadways — and to take necessary steps to restore HUR and local roadway infrastructure.