At the House Environment and Transportation Committee hearings on Thursday, March 10, MACo and MML urged passage of bills to restore Highway User Revenues to local jurisdictions.
HB 1455 – sponsored by multiple county delegation chairs – would fully restore the historic local 30% share of highway user revenues starting in FY 2017 for four years.
HB 1388 – sponsored by Delegate Parrott – permanently restores the 30% local share, and amends the state constitution to prevent redirection of the funds in future years.
MACo supported both bills. MACo President John Barr related his local perspective on road projects and the need to get funding back on track, and concluded “we don’t care who gets the credit…we just want to get back to work.” MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson noted that the bill’s effect simply restored the funding structure “that was in place for decades, and worked well.” The Maryland Municipal League also supported both bills.
MACo’s testimony included a summary of this top priority for counties:
For decades, local roadways were funded as one of the modes of transportation receiving 30% of Highway User Revenues (motor fuel tax and vehicle registration fees). The local share was slashed during the recession-driven budgets, and the former $555 million has been drastically cut back to $177 million – with a mere $27.7 million to be shared among 23 county governments (that figure used to be $282 million). The cumulative loss of local roadway investment since Fiscal 2010 is approximately $2.5 billion. Simply put, no other component of the State budget has suffered reductions of this magnitude. Although Baltimore City’s percentage reduction was not as large, the reduction per capita funding is far greater than that felt by any other jurisdiction.