Donald Fry: Legislative impacts on Maryland’s business climate

  By Donald C. Fry Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposal to increase funding for transportation infrastructure – a major priority for statewide business advocates – is stalled as the Maryland General Assembly enters the last week of its 2012 session. But lawmakers are moving a number of other bills that would have a positive impact on Maryland’s business climate. Here are summaries of some key legislation and their potential impacts: • … Continue reading

Donald Fry: Facing the tide of opposition to transportation funding

  By Donald C. Fry It would be an understatement to say that those of us who are advocating for increasing revenue to Maryland’s Transportation Trust Fund are facing a tide of public opposition. In supporting the governor’s proposal to phase in the state’s 6 percent sales tax on the wholesale price of gas over three years or more to address the state’s burgeoning crisis in funding transportation infrastructure, business … Continue reading

GBC supports Maryland Transportation Financing and Infrastructure Investment Act of 2012

The Greater Baltimore Committee supports an increase in transportation funding contemplated by SB 791/HB 1302, the Maryland Transportation Financing and Infrastructure Investment Act of 2012. The bill would institute a sales tax on the retail price of motor fuel minus any state and federal taxes. In addition, consistent with the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on which GBC president and CEO Donald Fry served, the tax would be phased … Continue reading

Donald Fry: Transportation legislation not the only issue on business radar in Annapolis

By Donald C. Fry While business advocates are focusing much attention on Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposal to address Maryland’s crisis in funding its transportation infrastructure, lawmakers are considering a number of other issues that would impact the state’s competitive business environment. Business and transportation advocates are reviewing the details of the governor’s bill filed last week that seeks to ultimately raise an estimated $613 million per year in new revenue … Continue reading

Donald Fry: Protecting transportation fund: not a magic bullet, but still needed

By Donald C. Fry Gas tax opponents are increasingly hanging their hats on the issue of “raiding,” contending that state lawmakers shouldn’t increase revenue to Maryland’s Transportation Trust Fund because they frequently raid it for non-transportation purposes. It’s an effective contention that gets significant media play as radio and television commentators and talk show hosts immediately bring up the raiding issue when the topic of raising the gas tax comes … Continue reading

Donald Fry: MDOT’s $12 billion list: top transportation priorities of Maryland counties

By Donald C. Fry As lawmakers begin to examine and debate Governor O’Malley’s gas tax proposal to increase transportation revenue, they could gain valuable perspective on the issue by taking a look at a $12 billion list compiled by the Maryland Department of Transportation. The list identifies 24 transportation projects that are the single top priorities for the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. The list, which does not include … Continue reading

Donald Fry: Better rail connectivity could drive residential rebound in Baltimore City

By Donald C. Fry Baltimore City’s precipitous-but-slowing population decline over the past 50 years is not a new problem. But Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, in her December 6 inauguration speech, made it a keynote challenge by setting a goal of attracting 10,000 families into the city during the next 10 years. Though there are not yet any official plans for how to lure new residents to Baltimore City, one core strategy … Continue reading

Lawmakers split over gas tax at GBC Legislative Forum event

More than 250 people packed the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel Jan. 23 among the early-morning smog to hear four representatives from Maryland government tackle tough topics being brought before the legislator this session. Comments from Senator Ed Kasemeyer, Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin, House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell and House Speaker Michael Busch were followed by questions and answers initiated by moderator Jeff Salkin from Maryland Public Television. Though various … Continue reading

Donald Fry: Myths, reality and transportation revenue

By Donald Fry As lawmakers in Annapolis debate a proposed gas tax increase and other measures to boost long-stagnant revenue to pay for Maryland’s transportation infrastructure, they will be buffeted with information about transportation funding, some of it lacking in detail or credibility. Critics of proposals to increase Maryland’s gas tax — our state’s primary source of transportation revenue — find themselves voicing popular “facts” that get repeated often these … Continue reading