At the hearing for SB 516, Transportation – Highway User Revenues – Distribution on Wednesday, MACo leadership testified to support the bill restoring highway user revenues to municipalities, requesting amendment to make the bill reflect the compromise reflected in its cross file, HB 807.
HB 807 was amended to provide 5 years of enhanced funding for local roads and bridges. For FY 2020 through 2024, the bill would increase the county share of highway user revenues from 1.5% to 3.2%, with additional funding also supporting Baltimore City and municipal government.
See previous Conduit Street coverage for further information.
At the hearing, MACo President and Anne Arundel Council Member Jerry Walker joined Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner; MACo Secretary; Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, MACo Second Vice President; Talbot Council Member Laura Price, MACo Board Member; and Michael Sanderson, Executive Director, MACo to support local roads funding.
Council Member Walker testified:
For the first time in many years, the House has taken an important step towards restoring roads funding to local governments. …. We are here today to request that you do the same – and pass that bill, as amended, when it crosses over, or amend this bill to reflect that compromise.
The average Marylander does not know, or care, which government jurisdiction is responsible for the roads, pipes, bike lanes and cables that serve them. They just want them to work. They need us, together, to make them work, because they can’t do that without us.
Together, we need to stop kicking the can down the road on our infrastructure needs. We hope that, together, this year, we can all buy into a way to begin addressing this.
County Executive Gardner told the Committee:
MACo is here today in unified support of the agreement reached in the House to begin providing highway user revenues back to local governments.
My county contains 1,950 miles of roads, or 4,194 lane miles. Eighteen percent of those miles are maintained by the State. Sixteen percent are maintained by municipalities.
Frederick County maintains all of the rest of the roads. That’s 1,300 miles of roads. We maintain 67 percent of the road miles within our borders, and 62 percent of the lane miles.
County Executive Glassman stressed the importance of taking a meaningful step forward on this important issue now. Council Member Price provided perspective from a smaller county, which has been unable to back fill lost funding with other revenues.
HB 807 has passed Third Reader in the House and is anticipated to be heard by the Budget & Taxation Committee in the Senate.