Time for a Local Infrastructure Fast Track

LIFT4MD logoEach year MACo adopts a slate of four top legislative initiatives, and this year, MACo reprises its request for wise investment in local infrastructure.

Local Infrastructure Fast Track for Maryland (#LIFT4MD)

Investing in infrastructure – a call addressed to every level of government – improves safety, economic development, and quality of life. Nonetheless, funding for local transportation assets, water delivery systems, public safety centers and more all lack predictable centralized funding commitments.

MACo calls on state leaders to take action in 2018 to:

  • Approve meaningful new FY 2019 funding for local transportation infrastructure – building on last year’s gains
  • Restore the historic 30% local share of transportation revenues – phasing back to the tried-and-true formula in place for decades
  • Inventory the condition of local infrastructure across the state, using existing resources, assessing the needs and revenue sources targeted for each area
  • Prioritize additional funding for local infrastructure, should the State receive extra infrastructure support from the Federal government

All 24 jurisdictions – of varying sizes, budgets, and regions – are united in the need for a Local Infrastructure Fast Track for Maryland. Bipartisan support for more funding for local infrastructure comes from all corners of the state – urban and rural jurisdictions, and counties from small to large.

The highway user revenue phase-in included in this bill – the “fast track” portion – will supply desperately needed revenue to repair and maintain local roads and bridges. The State and local governments have shared responsibilities for roads and bridges and the revenues generated from them since at least 1904. The State created the highway user revenue formula in 1968, and for more than forty years afterward, local governments had received at least 30 percent of transportation revenues – mostly motor fuel tax and vehicle registration fees – to fund their roads and bridges.

This traditional revenue-sharing made sense. Local governments maintain the lion’s share of the roads and bridges in Maryland. Unlike most other states, in Maryland, local governments own and maintain 83% of the roads. Approximately 45% of bridges in our state are owned by local governments, including nearly 70% of the 359 “structurally deficient” bridges as identified by the Maryland Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers in their most recently released Infrastructure Report Card.

The Great Recession forced cuts to this area deeper than those in any other component of
the state budget. Twenty-three counties’ share of highway user revenues plummeted from $282 million in 2007 to only $27 million today. The cumulative loss of local roadway investment since Fiscal 2010 is roughly $3 billion.

Counties highly prioritize investment in a #LIFT4MD.

At MACo’s Winter Conference, December 6-8, 2017, the closing session will focus on MACo’s 4 Initiatives. Register for the conference and join us for an interactive and information session on strategies for the upcoming session!

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference: