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Maryland Passes Transportation Bill

According to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, the Maryland state senate passed a transportation investment bill March 29 that indexes the state gas tax to inflation (effective immediately) and phases in a 3 percent sales tax on fuel. The sales tax could increase to 5 percent if Congress fails to pass a bill that would allow states to tax Internet sales.

The Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act (H.B. 1515), having already passed the state’s House of Delegates the previous week, now goes to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) for his signature. The 10- to 12-cent-per-gallon increase is the first gas tax hike for the state in 21 years, and supporters estimate it will bring in $2 billion over the next five years to build and maintain roads and transit systems.

On the other side of the country, the Nevada state senate began consideration April 4 of a bill that would increase the state’s tax on motor vehicle fuels by two cents per gallon annually over the next 10 years. The bill’s sponsor, Nevada State Sen. Richard “Tick” Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), says the overall 20-cent increase will generate $3 billion for road construction and maintenance.

Immediately preceding the bill’s introduction before the Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development, TRIP (a national transportation research group) released its annual review of Nevada’s roads and bridges reporting that more than half are in poor condition impacting Nevadans by about $2 billion every year.

As revenues for critically needed surface transportation infrastructure improvements continue to decline across the nation, it is the state legislatures that are leading the way with creative solutions.