Governor Martin O’Malley on May 16 signed legislation to strengthen funding for Maryland’s transportation infrastructure that will generate an estimated $4.4 billion in new to transportation funding over the next six years.
The legislation, jointly supported by the governor, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch, was the Greater Baltimore Committee’s top priority in the 2013 session and was endorsed by business and labor advocates in the state.
“The GBC was instrumental in winning passage of the 2013 Infrastructure Investment Act,” Matt Gallagher, Governor O’Malley’s chief of staff, said. “Without the support of the GBC and its members, there is no way that bill would have ever passed.”
The increased funding generated mostly by a new tax on wholesale gas will be applied to new highway projects and to new transit projects, including Baltimore’s 14.1-mile light rail Red Line, which is poised to receive $1 billion in matching federal funding.
“Without the leadership of the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House and the courageous votes cast by responsible legislators, state funding for any new transportation projects would have dried up in the next few years,” GBC President & CEO Donald C. Fry said.
“Although no one likes to pay more in taxes or fees, the business case for transportation funding was clear,” Fry said. “As Maryland expects to grow by more than 400,000 residents over the next 10 years, steps were needed to fund a balanced transportation plan. The failure to do so would have left us mired in gridlock.”