Montgomery County Council on Monday voiced unanimous support for Gov. Martin O'Malley's bill to raise much-needed funding for transportation projects in Maryland.
The proposal would reduce Maryland's 23.5 cent-per-gallon gas tax by 5 cents to 18.5 cents, index the gas tax to inflation, phase in a 4 percent wholesales tax on gasoline and sell bonds to raise $3.4 billion for transportation. The money would be used to start projects such as the Purple Line light rail, the Corridor Cities Transitway and a rapid bus system.
The Transportation Trust Fund currently only has enough money to maintain current infrastructure and is set to go bankrupt by 2018. "We've been talking about transportation for a long time and everybody has been active in this," said Council President Nancy Navarro, D-Eastern County. "It's not perfect, but it seems to be a good step forward."
Council members did voice some concerns with how the new taxes would affect the poor. O'Malley's administration estimates the price of gas will rise 2 cents per gallon starting in July and will increase an additional 7 cents per gallon by July 2014.
"It's really going to impact many many of our residents who don't have lobbyists and can't go to Annapolis and tell people about the pain at the pump," said Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, D-Silver Spring.