Governor Larry Hogan announced a bipartisan agreement to advance MACo’s Legislative Initiative to restore critical funding to repair and maintain local roads.
Restoring local Highway User Revenues (HUR) has been a MACo priority since the State slashed the local share during the recession-driven budgets. The former share of $555 million was drastically cut back, and while local governments stepped forward during the 2018 legislative session as part of a five-year funding boost, their cumulative share still trails far behind what they used to receive.
Currently, the local share is around $200 million through fiscal 2023 – and only $56 million across 23 counties. A “cliff effect” looms once that five-year funding level expires in fiscal 2024. With the compounding factors of a 2013 expansion of transportation revenues and additional funds recently allocated exclusively for State projects, local governments have fallen even further behind on funding owed – and desperately needed – to maintain Maryland’s roads and keep residents safe.
“Since taking office, our administration has been committed to directing more transportation funding to the local level, and this agreement ensures that will be the case for years to come,” said Governor Hogan. “These grants will provide our counties and municipalities with vital resources to address critical needs and advance priority projects in every jurisdiction. For eight years, our administration has been fighting on behalf of our county leaders and mayors to increase this funding, and I want to thank our partners in the General Assembly for working with us to get this done.”
While the complete details of the agreement are not yet clear, MACo expects the Senate to implement the bipartisan agreement via SB 726 / HB 1187 — a MACo Legislative Initiative to restore funding for local infrastructure.
According to a press release:
This bipartisan agreement will increase the share of transportation funds that local governments receive through highway user revenue (HUR) grants beginning in FY24. In FY24, the share of transportation funding for local jurisdictions will increase from 13.5% to 15.5%, and by FY27, the percentage will increase to 20%. Without action, these grants would have been cut beginning in FY24. In total, from FY24 through FY27, local jurisdictions will receive $663 million more in transportation funding than under current law.
This agreement builds on legislation the governor enacted in 2018 to increase funding for these grants, which had been cut by 90% under the previous administration. State investment in transportation and infrastructure will be unaffected by the agreement.
This was one of the governor’s priorities in the budget negotiations that resulted in the historic tax relief package that was announced earlier this week. It is also a top priority for the Maryland Association of Counties and the Maryland Municipal League.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.
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