The Washington Post

O’Malley ‘still having conversations’ about raising more revenue for transportation

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Tuesday that his administration is “still having conversations” about whether to make another run at raising more money for transportation projects in the upcoming legislative session.

During the last 90-day legislative session, O’Malley proposed applying the state’s 6 percent sales tax to gasoline. It is estimated that the move will raise more than $600 million a year for road and mass transit projects, including the planned Purple Line in the Washington region and Red Line in Baltimore.

But the bill did not go anywhere in either chamber.

“There will come a time when it no longer makes any sense to put any money into the Red Line or Purple Line if the General Assembly wants to pretend we can fund our transportation challenges based on a 30-year-old flat tax on gasoline,” O’Malley told reporters Tuesday.

Under current forecasts, the state has no money for any highway construction after fiscal 2017. Ditto for construction of the Red and Purple lines, or the proposed Corridor Cities Transitway along the I-270 corridor in Montgomery County.

The next 30-day legislative session opens Jan. 9.

The last time lawmakers raised the state’s 23.5-cent gas tax was 1992. The gas tax remains the state’s largest source of funding for transportation projects.

While speaking to reporters, O’Malley also raised the possibility of raising the state’s general sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent and earmarking the additional revenue for transportation.

He said that is an idea “that some others brought up” last session. O’Malley suggested that it might be less unpopular than targeting prices at the pump.

“I’ll bet if you asked anyone at any community meeting which of those two alternatives they prefer ... most people would rather see it spread out over that 1-cent in the sales tax,” he said.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.