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Sen. Mikulski Supports Car Tax Breaks While Transit Languishes

9:44 AM EDT on April 13, 2009

This just in from the Streetsblog Network: Greater Greater Washington takes Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski to task for supporting car sales tax breaks -- and asks how that money could be better spent:

3277332582_4064f30040.jpgSen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) touts tax breaks for car buyers at the 2009 Motor Trend International Auto Show in Baltimore. Photo by Voxefx via Flickr.

Maryland state lawmakers re-added a $10 million tax break for car purchases
at the final stage of their budget negotiations. Legislators had previously decided to remove the credit to help shore up Maryland's finances until Senator Barbara Mikulski pushed to reinstate it. Mikulski inserted a similar provision into the federal stimulus bill earlier this year.

What could Maryland do with $10 million besides further incentivize people to buy new cars that most of them don't need? With just half that money, they could restore transit cuts in the DC region. Those cuts threaten to cut off vital service to many residents who don't have alternatives, or will drive many Marylanders to commute by car instead of transit, increasing traffic, pollution and parking problems. DC and most Virginia jurisdictions came up with extra money to stave off most of their proposed cuts to Metro service, but Maryland remains $4.8 million behind. The other half of the $10 million could restore previous cuts or improve service in Baltimore.

Instead of preserving this vital transportation choice, Mikulski is intent on propping up an auto industry that has quite simply overproduced cars for the current economy. Americans would do just fine simply keeping their current cars a little longer. Meanwhile, cutting transit service not only destroys jobs, but harms many residents' ability to get to their jobs. 

Elsewhere around the network, Austin on Two Wheels applauds the decision to locate the Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis, California; The Political Environment laments spreading sprawl in Wisconsin; and CTA Tattler listens to "Voices of Transit."

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