Governor Martin O’Malley’s legislation to increase funding for Maryland’s transportation infrastructure cleared the House Ways and Means Committee on March 18, receiving a 16-4 favorable vote with amendments.
This is the first time in decades that a comprehensive bill to address the state’s growing transportation funding crisis — a top priority of the GBC — has reached the floor of a General Assembly chamber. A vote in the House is expected this week.
Governor O’Malley announced the results of the committee vote on HB 1515 at a GBC-sponsored event in Annapolis Monday evening for business and labor supporters of the bill.
The bill is a joint proposal supported by the governor, House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller. Though the General Assembly’s presiding officers are aligned behind this legislation, it is not a slam dunk.
The Governor urged transportation advocates to communicate to state lawmakers the urgent need for this legislation and the business community’s appreciation for legislators who recognize the need and act on it.
He asked business leaders to strongly support members of the General Assembly who make a “tough vote” for enacting significant revenue increases to Maryland’s transportation fund.
“Lawmakers need to know that they have someone in their corner at election time,” O’Malley said.
Committee amendments to HB 1515 would delete the bill’s original provision to reduce the state’s per-gallon gas tax by 5 cents, but would decrease by 1 percentage point the initial and ultimate sales tax on the wholesale price of gas to 1 percent in 2013 and 3 percent in 2015, from the original proposed rates of 2 percent and 4 percent.
Don Fry’s recent commentary on currently unfunded top-priority transportation projects around the state
Key legislators to email or phone your support for HB 1515