|Friday, April 29, 2011 – Robert Lang and Associated Press|
|Maryland’s Transportation Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley says its too early to tell if or when the state’s gas tax will be increased to replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.
Governor O’Malley hosted a discussion on the trust fund today in Howard County.
Lawmakers are likely to consider a gas tax increase either in a special session this fall, or next year.
Maryland’s gasoline tax is 23.5-cents per gallon, and has not been increased since 1992.
Swaim-Staley says any final decision on a gas tax hike would be “premature.”
Swaim-Staley told WBAL News that a number of options are being considered.
Lawmakers have taken millions out of the fund in recent years to balance the state’s budget. Lawmakers have approved restoring $100-million a year to the fund through 2014.
Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola told WBAL News earlier this month that it is quite possible lawmakers will consider a gas tax hike during a special session this fall. Senate President Mike Miller said lawmakers have to come up with ways to generate highway money.
O’Malley says the state’s 23.5-cents gas tax doesn’t raise as much as it used to, partly because cars are getting better gas mileage. One option would be to apply the state’s 6 percent sales tax to gas purchases, instead of taxing by the gallon.
In February, the commission recommended that the state find a way to raise $800 million in additional money annually for transportation needs.
… When all else fails, strap it on the backs of the little guys, again. Typical big government answer. They could care less. …