Sales and property taxes appear to be safe, but Maryland’s gas tax may not be able to run away and hide.
Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation is about to release recommendations to improve Maryland’s road and bridge funding, and sources are saying a gas-tax hike might be in the mix.
The panel’s top suggestion, however, will be to stop the practice of diverting funds out of the state’s Highway Trust Fund. The panel also is looking at restoring approximately $350 million in transportation funding to local and city governments that have had funding pulled to fill other state budgetary gaps.
“It cannot be diverted as they’ve been doing in the past years to other purposes of the government,” Gus Bauman, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Commission, told the Associated Press. “That is the core recommendation of this group.”
If the commission does recommend an increase in the state gas tax, it could be as high as 15 cents a gallon over the next three years. Such a move would generate $491 million annually. A five-cent hike would collect $164 million. A 50% increase in vehicle registration fees also could be suggested, which would raise another $165 million a year.