Today I went to Annapolis to testify before the Maryland State Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on SB 830, which is also known as the Transportation Financing Act. The bill would increase funding for transportation projects in the state. Without new revenue, many crucial transit and road projects here in Montgomery County are in serious jeopardy.
Here is the complete text of my testimony:
Good afternoon Chairman Kasemeyer and Members of the Budget and Taxation Committee:
My name is Nancy Navarro and I am the President of the Montgomery County Council. I am pleased to testify today in favor of increased funding for transportation.
I want to begin by commending Senate President Miller and the co-sponsors of SB 830 for putting forward a proposal that starts this urgent conversation about addressing Maryland’s transportation needs. While my colleagues on the Council and I may not support every detail in these bills, we view it as a positive step toward our shared goal of addressing our growing transit needs and maintaining our existing transportation infrastructure.
The Council is firm in its belief that transportation funding is a statewide obligation that requires a statewide solution. That is why we favor the proposal to establish a sales and use tax on gasoline, although the 3 percent in SB 830 will not be sufficient to raise the revenue necessary to meet all of our needs. We would support a fully phased in 6 percent sales tax on gasoline or a 1-cent increase on the state sales tax, which would both raise a more substantial level of revenue.
Montgomery County continues to have serious concerns about shifting responsibility for funding transportation to local jurisdictions. Asking Montgomery County or Baltimore City taxpayers to disproportionately shoulder the cost for projects that will ultimately benefit the entire state’s economy is not a sustainable approach for funding transportation. We do not believe it is appropriate at this time to create Transit Benefit Districts with taxing authority or providing local governments with the ability to levy a gas tax. Any discussion of local transportation revenues is premature until all statewide options are fully considered.
My colleagues on the Council and I continue to remain optimistic that the General Assembly will take decisive action this year to address our state’s growing transportation needs. Both Montgomery County and Maryland’s economic success depends on moving our transit projects and transportation infrastructure forward.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.