What seemed to be a year to start the restoration of local highway user revenues, turned into the status quo for fiscal 2017. This post summarizes actions in the budget and the status of legislation to restore local transportation funding that MACo took a position on.
Final Fiscal 2017 Budget Actions – The budget as approved by the General Assembly includes local Highway User Revenues (HUR) funded at $177.4 million according to the current distribution formula – Baltimore receives 7.7%, counties receive 1.5% and municipalities receive .4%. However, the additional grant of $53.6 million, which was funded to begin restoring local HUR, was reduced by budget conferees to a one-time $25 million grant distributed $19 million to municipalities, $4 million to counties, and $2 million to Baltimore City; the same level of funding and distribution provided in FY 2016.
Legislation to Restore Local Transportation Funding: HB 1388 and HB 1455 would have fully restored local HUR funding in FY 2017, HB 1388 permanently and HB 1455 for four years. MACo strongly supported both bills as “Local Transportation Funding Restoration” was MACo’s top initiative for the 2016 General Assembly Session.
Final Status: Both bills had hearings in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. No further action was taken.
Funding For Municipal Roadways: SB 585, as introduced, would have phased-in additional funding for municipal roadways over 5 years. As amended by the Senate, it provided a one-time grant to municipalities of $25 million only for fiscal 2018. MACo did not raise issues with SB 585 or its House crossfile during its initial consideration, as there were other bills proposing broader changes to Highway User Revenues and MACo supported those bills. However, with SB 585 being the only proposal receiving any favorable treatment in any legislative deliberations this term, MACo supported the bill with amendments when it was heard in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. MACo urged a fair and comprehensive approach to restore funding for all local governments charged with maintaining roads and bridges across the state – incorporating the distribution of both road miles and vehicles, and the unique responsibilities of Baltimore City to maintain nearly all state roads within its borders.
Final Status: SB 585 was heard in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. No further action was taken.