There is talk among Maryland state officials about raising the gas tax to pay for several unfinished transportation projects, and a commission studying the issue is expected to endorse that idea.
The proposal would increase the state's 23.5 cents-per-gallon tax by 15 cents, according to the Baltimore Sun--an idea expected to get the thumbs up Tuesday from the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding.
The proposal would also include provisions that would protect the state’s Transportation Trust Fund from being used to make up for general fund shortfalls, according to the Sun.
In August, warned county officials to be ready for possible upcoming tax increases, including a gas tax, saying, “We will all have to be open to more cuts, and at the same time—to protect our children’s future—we must be open to new revenues.”
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III have been among those lobbying for to pay for transportation projects.
Analysts from TRIP, a D.C.-based organization that researches transportation issues, has confirmed what commuters in the area have long known--55 percent of Maryland’s urban highways are congested, resulting in significant rush-hour delays.
According to TRIP, vehicle travel in Maryland increased 36 percent from 1990 to 2008–jumping from 40.5 billion vehicle miles traveled in 1990 to 55 billion in 2008.
By 2025, vehicle travel in Maryland is projected to increase by another 30 percent, according to TRIP.