Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Streetsblog

Maryland on the Verge of a Fix for Transportation Funding Woes

Maryland is one of a growing number of U.S. states that's found itself in a tough spot when it comes to transportation funding.

false

The state blew through its transportation funds when it built a big highway project called the Intercounty Connector. Now, the state has so little money left that unless something changes, it won't be able to build long-sought transit projects.

Stephen Lee Davis at Transportation for America says transit advocates, state lawmakers, and Governor Martin O'Malley have coalesced around a plan to fund transit expansions.

First, the damage from the ICC:

The state spent $265 million in general funds and though the $180 million from the state’s Transportation Trust Fund represents only about 10 percent of what the state gas tax and vehicle fees bring in each year, Maryland is also devoting $750 million in future federal funds they haven’t yet received to the project — or almost 130 percent of what the state receives from the feds each year for all of their state highway needs. ($580 million in FY12.)

State and independent analysts have been saying that by 2018, Maryland will only have enough money to cover maintenance and repair, making it nearly impossible to fund any new highway projects or any of the long-awaited and much needed public transportation projects, including the new Red Line subway in Baltimore, the Purple Line rail link for Metro and the innovative Corridor Cities Transitway rapid bus line in the DC region.

Now, the solution:

The plan would:

  • Index the gas tax to inflation starting immediately (with a ceiling of 5 cents maximum increase in any given year.)
  • Add a three percent sales tax at the gasoline pump, phasing that in over a period of three years starting this summer.
  • There are other provisions that could change the sales tax rate on gasoline that have to do with internet sales tax. In short, if Congress allows states to tax internet sales, Maryland will devote that revenue to transportation. If not, they’ll raise the sales tax on gas to five percent.
  • Raise $4.4 billion for transportation over six years (including the ability to borrow against increased future revenues.)

The Maryland House of Representatives has approved the plan. Now it is up to the State Senate to fix this problem, or punt.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater Greater Washington compares the residential density of the country's largest metros. Seattle Bike Blog reports that the city's efforts to encourage family cycling are paying off. And the Tri-State Transportation Campaign says that a provision of the new transportation bill, MAP-21, could open up a new stream of transit funding for Connecticut.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Friday’s Headlines: Hochul’s Fantasy World Edition

The governor has gone off the deep end. Plus other news.

July 19, 2024

Speaker Adams: Council May Not Use its ‘Sammy’s Law’ Power to Lower Speed Limits

The Council may not lower the speed limit, even though it fought so hard to get that very right from the state legislature.

July 19, 2024

Parks Dept. Has Money But No Timeline to Finish Eastern Queens Greenway

There's tens of millions of dollars for the greenway, so when will parks build it?

July 19, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines: Paris is a Lot Cooler than NYC Edition

The City of Light has figured out how to reduce the heat island effect. Plus other news in today's daily digest.

July 18, 2024

Exclusive: Legal Team Announced for Suit Against Hochul’s Congestion Pricing ‘Pause’

Attorneys from three firms have inked a joint defense agreement to fight "the governor’s illegal decision to cancel congestion pricing," Comptroller Brad Lander said.

July 17, 2024
See all posts