Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

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 USA

Monday’s Headlines Go Through Basic Training

An NYU study looks into why the U.S. is lagging behind on high-speed rail, and one transportation expert ponders the impact on growth.

July 15, 2024

Sustainable Transportation Advocates Need to Talk About Sustainable Urban Design

A new book hopes to act as a "magic decoder ring" to our built environment — and a powerful tool to understand how sustainable transportation networks can fit within them.

July 15, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Take Me to the River

Politico reports that the Biden administration is investing $2.5 billion in updating aging Mississippi River locks and dams like this one in Iowa. Transporting freight by barge produces less emissions than trucks or even rail.

July 12, 2024

Friday Video: Take a Spin on Boston’s Electric Cargo Bike Share

Can't afford a $7,000 Urban Arrow cargo e-bike ? In Boston, you can now rent one for just a few bucks.

July 12, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Electrify the Rails

Adrianna Rizzo of Californians for Electric Rail on California's looming lobbyist-fueled hydrogen train mistake: "We’re locking in low service for potentially decades."

July 11, 2024
See all posts