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Maryland State Senate President, Thomas V. Mike Miller, is trying to convince Maryland drivers that in exchange for an over 50 percent tax hike on gas, he will place a Constitutional amendment that would prevent funds from being transferred out of the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). Miller claims that there would be enough money available to build and fix our highway system.
Maryland drivers should be skeptical of Miller’s “lock box” promise to ensure that their gas tax dollars are spent on roads.
Although Miller’s bill, SB829, would essentially prevent transfers out of the TTF, it does not protect tax dollars generated from motorists from being appropriated to mass transit and other entities within the TTF.
In FY 2013 motorists contributed 49 percent of the total TTF budget. However, only 30 percent of the revenue motorists put in for road construction and maintenance was appropriated to the State Highway Administration. In all, $775 million of gas tax revenue, and Department of Motor Vehicle fees were diverted to other agencies within the TTF that motorists do not use.
This longstanding practice of raiding TTF funds has diverted billions of dollars of driver generated tax dollars to other pet projects, not towards roads construction and maintenance as drivers expect. This is an inconvenient truth that some Annapolis politicians don’t want to address.
The push to construct the expensive Purple Line in the Washington D.C. suburbs and the Red Line in Baltimore, among other costly mass transit projects, casts further doubt that drivers will ever see their tax dollars invested in Maryland’s roads.
To fully regain the trust and confidence of drivers, every door to the Transportation Trust Fund must be locked. Each and every penny generated by the state gas tax and driver related fees at the Department of Motor Vehicles must be dedicated strictly to the construction and repair of Maryland’s highway system.
If the status quo of robbing drivers of their dedicated funds for roads continues, Marylanders will be faced with another gas tax hike in just a few short years to “pay for road construction and repairs” again!
Tags: gas tax, Mike Miller, transit, transportation
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