The Greater Baltimore Committee’s transportation funding task force has issued a report on congestion pricing — the first in a series of informational reports to the panel on various new options for funding transportation infrastructure in Maryland.
The report, compiled by the GBC staff, reviews the concept of congestion pricing and its use in the U.S. and abroad. Congestion pricing methods include lane pricing, variable tolls based on traffic levels, and so-called “cordon pricing” fees for driving into certain areas or jurisdictions.
Congestion pricing is one of more than a dozen concepts – many of which are used elsewhere – that the GBC’s Transportation Financing and Governance Task Force will study in developing recommendations for strengthening the way that Maryland funds and manages its transportation resources.
The private-sector GBC task force, launched in December 2008, is co-chaired by Anne Ferro, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, and Joseph DeMattos, Jr., director of AARP Maryland.
Maryland’s highways, transit, port and airport facilities are currently funded through the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, for which the largest sources of revenue in addition to federal funding include state gas taxes, vehicle titling taxes and registration fees.
“Under current funding formulas, to say that Maryland’s transportation revenues have not kept pace with infrastructure maintenance and construction requirements would be an understatement,” said GBC President & CEO Donald C. Fry. “Right now, there is at least a $60 billion backlog of state transportation projects that are planned, but not funded for construction.”
Other funding concepts to be studied by the GBC panel include so-called vehicle-miles traveled fees, gas tax indexing, public-private partnerships, dedicating portions of other government revenues to transportation, and a variety of new dedicated user fees and impact fees.
“The purpose of this report on congestion pricing, and other reports to follow, is to provide task force members with comprehensive, updated information on how transportation is being funded and managed in the U.S. and abroad, and to alert them to other funding proposals being raised by transportation experts,” Fry said. “These reports are intended to inform and to provoke thought and discussion as the task force tackles these issues.”
“It’s our hope that these reports will also serve as resources to educate the public about important issues relating to transportation funding,” Fry added.
The GBC’s task force is seeking to develop transportation-funding recommendations by the end of the year. Recommendations will be forwarded to state policymakers.