Four GBC transportation revenue studies available online

Four recent studies by the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Transportation Funding and Governance Task Force that review potential options for strengthening revenue to Maryland’s Transportation Trust Fund are available online.
Study reports on congestion pricing, gas tax indexing for inflation, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) taxes; and use of public-private partnerships are available.

The reports are informational studies — not recommendations — that examine the extent to which these four concepts are being considered and implemented elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. The reports, compiled by the GBC staff, review the proposed options, outcomes of their use elsewhere, and potential benefits and drawbacks.
Although congestion pricing – charging variable tolls based on time of day or level of congestion – has been tried in several places, the concept has not been successfully adopted in the United States. It has experienced wider use abroad.

Indexing the gas tax for inflation has been considered, but rejected in Maryland as a way to address stagnating gas tax revenues from the state’s per-gallon gas tax, which is the single biggest revenue source for the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. Maryland’s gas tax rate has not been increased since 1992.

Proposals to replace gas taxes with a tax on vehicle miles traveled (VMT), also known as road pricing, appear to be gaining traction at the federal level and in at least one western state, but are raising concerns about technology and privacy.

Meanwhile, public-private partnerships have been used by states and cities since the 1980s for selected highways, transit projects and other uses. This decade states have shown increasing interest in turning to public-private partnerships as a way of tapping private-sector resources to fund and manage highway and transit projects as well as a widening variety of other government infrastructure. Since 2000, U.S. states have entered into dozens of public-private partnerships for a wide variety of purposes including transportation infrastructure, wastewater treatment, and economic development.

The GBC’s transportation funding task force, launched in December 2008, is currently co-chaired by Anne Ferro, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, and Joseph DeMattos, Jr., president of The Health Facilities Association of Maryland. To view the GBC reports, click on the following links:

Congestion pricing
Gas tax indexing 
Vehicle miles traveled
Public-private partnerships