In a letter to the editor, Mike McKay, chairman of the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition and President of the Allegany County Commissioners, and Blaine R. Young, founder of the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition and president of the Frederick County Commissioners, offer their support for a constitutional amendment that is on the ballot this November to create a “lockbox” for transportation funding.
From the letter published in the Baltimore Sun,
The amendment language states: “Transportation Trust Funds may be used for non-transportation related purposes or transferred to the general fund or a special fund only if the Governor declares a fiscal emergency and the General Assembly approves legislation, by a three-fifths vote of both houses, concurring with the use or transfer of the funds.”
The writers indicate that, although not perfect, this additional protection is a “step in the right direction.”
Maryland Rural Counties, a coalition of 11 rural jurisdictions (Allegany, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Somerset, Washington, Wicomico counties) representing more than 1.1 million Maryland rural citizens, notes that this isn’t the most satisfying or protective language. However, future state leaders will have to make a very public argument that a genuine budgetary crisis exists and will require the members of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates through a super-majority vote to pass and then explain their position to their respective voters.
While this is not the best protection for Maryland drivers and taxpayers, we do believe this “lockbox” protection will be a positive step in the right direction to ensure future funding for Maryland’s rural roads and transportation needs and urge voters to vote yes on Question 1 and thereby add an additional protection to Maryland’s highway needs.