AASHTO Journal, 15 March 2013
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley last week unveiled a “transportation investment plan” to alter the way the state raises funds for transportation projects while creating jobs and relieving congestion on the state’s roadways.
O’Malley’s transportation investment plan would decrease the state gas tax by five cents per gallon (from 23.5 cents to 18.5 cents), while indexing that 18.5 cent gas tax to the Consumer Price Index. Additionally, Maryland would phase in a state sales tax on the wholesale price of gas. That sales tax would start at two percent and then increase to four percent a year later. If passed, the full plan would take effect July 1 of this year.
These changes would generate an additional $3.4 billion through the next five years for Maryland transportation projects, O’Malley said, by bringing in an average of $800 million each year. O’Malley also said the plan would support more than 8,800 jobs each year.
O’Malley announced the proposal Monday, March 4 alongside Maryland Senate President Thomas Mike Miller, Jr. and House Speaker Michael Busch for the announcement.
“Building a 21st century transportation network won’t happen by itself,” O’Malley said in a statement. “Together, with Senate President Miller and Speaker Busch, we’re announcing a plan that is balanced, fiscally responsible, and is projected to support 44,000 jobs. This plan will help us generate the revenue we need to ease some of the worst traffic congestion in the nation while building and repairing our transportation infrastructure.”
States have been grappling with ways to make up for the gap between available funding for transportation and transportation needs. Virginia, Maryland’s close neighbor, also recently restructured the way in which it collects transportation funding with the elimination of its state gas tax and the creation of a state sales tax for transportation (see related AASHTO Journal story here).
Additional information on the plan, as well as a picture of what might happen if additional transportation funding is not raised, is available here.