Appropriations Committee Hears Legislation to Restore HUR

Legislation to restore Highway User Revenues (HUR) to local governments received a positive hearing this week before the House  Appropriations Committee.  HB 1067, sponsored by Delegate Wendall Beitzel, was introduced at the request of MACo as an approach to reasonably restore HUR to local governments. For decades, local roadways were funded  as one of the modes of transportation receiving 30% of HUR.  This percentage has been reduced to 9.6%.

During the hearing, MACo was represented by its Past President and Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt, Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine,  Queen Anne’s County Public Works Director Todd Mohn, and its Legislative Director Andrea Mansfield. The panel discussed  the effects of HUR reductions on road maintenance and the challenges of maintaining county roadways when faced with more severe winter weather …POTHOLES EVERYWHERE!

From MACo’s written testimony:

With the recent expansion of transportation revenues, MACo feels strongly that it is now time for local governments to again play a more significant role in the State’s transportation funding plan.

HB 1067 would reasonably restore local HUR over a three-year time frame beginning in FY 2016. There is no effect on the State general fund and no immediate effect on the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) and it offers only a partial restoration to a 20% share of HUR, not the full 30%. This approach recognizes the recent commitments to State transportation projects and the State’s ongoing transportation needs.

Also testifying in support of the bill were Garrett County Commissioners Gregan Crawford and Bob Gatto. When discussing the challenges of maintaining roadways in Garrett County, Commissioner Gatto stated, “We all know it costs more to repair, than to maintain.”