Nancy Navarro on the Transportation Financing Act

Today I went to Annapolis to testify on the Transportation Financing Act. Without new revenue, many crucial transit and road projects here in Montgomery County are in serious jeopardy.

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.

Nancy Navarro is President of the Montgomery County Council and represents District 4. This post also appears on her blog. She can be reached on Twitter as @nancy_navarro.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Charles Tyler February 26, 2013 at 04:15 PM
On my daily trips along Briggs Chaney Road where it crosses the ICC, I am reminded of how misguided so many of the State's and County's transportation policies must be. The ICC serves very few but is probably one of the reasons you feel an increase in the gasoline tax is justified. I believe it is time to make better use of the funds already available for transportation and other projects.
Charles Tyler February 26, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Why do you make it so difficult to submit a comment?
Barry Graham March 03, 2013 at 07:55 PM
The ICC is great, just because people don't use it doesn't make it a waste. I have used it many times. One of the issues is that it is too short. It really needs to be extended to cross the Potomac and act as another way to get to Dulles Airport and to Virginia. It would be nice if the speed limit were increased to 65mph having spent all that money on it, especially given that we have to pay to use it. It would also be nice if the state would finish the improvements on route 29 so that you can avoid lights all the way from New Hampshire Avenue to 198. Also please don't let them create the misguided rapid transit system on 29 without widening it by the number of lanes to be used for rapid transit. Finally, when is the Purple Line going to be built? Is it any wonder that the beltway is so congested when even with all the delays it's still quicker to drive than to go by bus and by train?
Barry Graham March 03, 2013 at 07:56 PM
You are right, it was very hard - I ended up having to do it from IE as Firefox won't take comments.


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