Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO Donald C. Fry has asked Governor Martin O’Malley to include transportation funding on the agenda if he calls a special session of the General Assembly.
“The GBC strongly believes that increasing funding for Maryland’s transportation infrastructure is the most significant economic development challenge currently facing our state,” Fry wrote to O’Malley in a September 4 letter. “Increasing funding to the Transportation Trust Fund by as much as $600 million per year is a top fiscal priority that we must not be tempted to defer.”
Fry praised the governor for his recent pledge to members of the Maryland Association of Counties that he would introduce a major transportation funding bill in the next General Assembly session.
Since increasing transportation revenue would require a tax increase or a reallocation of tax revenue, the issue “would be highly germane to a special session on the state’s fiscal matters,” wrote Fry.
Fry, a recognized expert in transportation policy who formerly served in the state Senate and in the House of Delegates, has voiced his concern this year to the governor and state lawmakers that the critical need for increased transportation funding will be lost amid the public discussion about closing the state’s estimated $1.5 billion General Fund operating deficit.
The Transportation Trust Fund needs additional revenue in order for the state to begin catching up on a $40 billion backlog of highway, transit, port and airport-related projects that are in the planning stages but are not yet funded for construction, Fry contends.