Md., Va. are missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars for road and bridge work

New report reveals raising the gas tax to account for inflation could have solved a lot of financial problems both states are now facing

Funding News The Washington Times December 14, 2011
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Inflation could have inflated road and bridge budgets in Virginia and Maryland.

A new report issued by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy revealed if the two states would have raised the gas tax to account for inflation hundreds of millions of dollars could have been generated. For Virginia, the number could have been as high as $580 million annually. Maryland would have raked in $421 million per year.

Both states are struggling to generate enough revenue for necessary road and bridge repairs. Maryland is closer to raising the gas tax following a Blue Ribbon Commission recommendation to increase it by 15 cents over the next three years. The move also would include an index tying the gas tax to inflation. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley supports the measure, and said the move could generate $500 million a year.

Virginia is a little more reluctant to charge more at the pump. Gov. Bob McDonnell has rejected the idea of a gas-tax increase because it is not a long-term solution. However, Joe May, chairman of Virginia’s House Transportation Committee, said there are not a whole lot of transportation funding solutions available. May is looking into a measure that would charge oversized trucks more to travel on Virginia highways, but it would only generate about $10 million annually.

“If the gas tax is diminishing, there aren’t too many areas left open to raise transportation dollars,” May told The Washington Times. “They’re aren’t any free lunches. There really aren’t.”

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