Maryland Goes for the Gas Tax!

Post date: Mar 8, 2012 9:34:53 PM

Congratulations to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for having the courage to go directly for a gas tax increase to keep the state’s transportation trust fund solvent and moving forward!

Technically it’s not an increase in the excise tax but imposition of a 6 percent sales tax, phased in over 3 years. The recently introduced legislation (SB 971 and HB 1302) also includes a “braking mechanism” to defer increases during gas price spikes and various provisions to increase the integrity of the fund.

The legislation is based on the report of a Blue Ribbon Commission issued last fall. A couple of provisions in that report (not in the pending legislation) that I found of interest:

· The Commission recommended that MDOT incorporate a Strategic Framework for Transportation Investment Decisions into its planning process to reinforce the state’s Smart Growth policies.

· They also devoted considerable space to encouraging innovative financing. An idea I had not seen before is the proposal to develop a Value Capture Analysis system that would be added to the department’s project prioritization scheme.

At any rate, Maryland DOT and state government have done, as I always expect, a first-rate job in putting this proposal together. Good luck Maryland!