At a Department of Transportation budget hearing today, the Department of Legislative Services suggested that the Governor’s proposed extra funding for local roads and bridges be accompanied by legislation to alter the Highway User Formula.
Local Transportation Capital Grants Proposed in Lieu of Changing Distribution Formula for Highway User Revenues:
The decision by the Administration to increase transportation aid to local governments through capital grants in lieu of changing the Highway User Revenues (HUR) distribution formula in statute raises several issues. To ensure adequate oversite (sic) by the General Assembly, it is recommended that language be added to the budget bill, making the appropriation of this local transportation aid contingent on enactment of legislation modifying the HUR formula and authorizing transfer of the appropriation to the operating program of the State Highway Administration to be distributed pursuant to changes made by that legislation.
During the budget hearing, Senate Subcommittee Chair Ed DeGrange noted the additional flexibility inherent in the currently proposed.
Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn differed with the analyst recommendation, but reinforced the language appearing in the budget bill that guides the FY 2017 funding:
Further provided that $27,720,795 of this appropriation to county governments and $20,328,583 to municipal governments shall be allocated to eligible counties and municipalities as provided in Sections 8–404 and 8–405 of the Transportation Article and may be expended only in accordance with Section 8–408 of the Transportation Article.