Lawmakers’ transit report calculates $2 billion operating shortfall in next 20 years

A panel of legislators created to identify “unconstrained” long-range transit funding needs in Maryland has issued a report that identifies a 20-year shortfall of $2 billion to simply keep up with operating costs and maintenance needs of the current system.

When service enhancements and four proposed rail lines are added, the shortfall grows to $13.5 billion, the Maryland Transit Study Funding Steering Committee estimates. The panel wrapped up its work in late December.

The panel’s staff provided a menu of options for addressing this shortfall, ranging from cost reductions through operating efficiencies to fare increases, contributions from local governments, and adding or increasing sources of revenue for the Transportation Trust Fund.

While the panel’s report does not make specific recommendations about an appropriate level of transit funding or new revenue sources, it will undoubtedly be reviewed whenever the larger question of transportation funding is raised.

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