Report: Poor Maryland roads cost drivers $2,200 a year

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Local,Maryland,Kate Jacobson,Metro and Traffic

Editor's note: An updated version of this article can be found here

 

Poor road conditions in Maryland are costing drivers in the Washington area about $2,200 a year, according to a new report released by a transportation research group.

TRIP, a national transportation research group based in D.C., said roads in Maryland are crumbling and are gridlocked -- costing drivers time and money.

The $2,200 factors in fuel costs and lost time while sitting in traffic and additional vehicle operating costs incurred with driving on poor roads.

The group also looked at Maryland roads and bridges, and found that 41 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition. In Maryland's Washington suburbs, that percentage climbed to 62 percent.

But the Maryland fund for roads maintenance and transportation projects is drying up. The Transportation Trust Fund is expected to go bankrupt by 2018 without new funding and has no money for any new projects.

While Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's and Calvert counties, has introduced a sweeping plan to fund roads and transit, Gov. Martin O'Malley has not offered a plan so far this General Assembly session.

Miller has said that O'Malley needs to take leadership before any plan advances. O'Malley, Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch are scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss transportation funding.

Miller's plan would apply a 3 percent sales tax to the currently exempt sale of gasoline, give counties the power to raise the statewide 23.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax by up to 5 cents, and create two regional authorities in Baltimore and the D.C. suburbs that would have the power to raise property taxes.

The sales tax on Maryland gasoline would raise about $300 million annually. It's not clear how much the county gas taxes or regional taxing authorities would raise.

Experts and analysts agree, though, that Maryland needs $600 million to $700 million annually to fund its transportation projects.

Andy Brownfield contributed to this report.

kjacobson@washingtonexaminer.com

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Kate Jacobson

Montgomery County reporter
The Washington Examiner