My testimony on the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act

The Ways and Means Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates is holding a hearing today on HB 1515, the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013. This critical bill would increase funding for transportation projects across the state. Here is the testimony I will be submitting to the Committee:

The Montgomery County Council unanimously supports HB 1515: Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013.

On behalf of the Council, I want to commend Governor O’Malley, Speaker Busch, and Senate President Miller for putting forward a solution that will address Maryland’s transportation needs. This legislation recognizes that we will rise or fall together – as One Maryland. This statewide solution will raise revenue to fund projects from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore. Having resources available to build our transit infrastructure and maintain our roads and bridges will help our private sector grow and economy thrive.

Maryland’s economic future rests on our ability to fund our state’s transportation priorities. The Council is supportive of indexing the gasoline tax and phasing in the state sales tax on the wholesale price of gasoline. The funding mechanisms offered by this legislation will keep our gas prices competitive with surrounding jurisdictions. The Council also supports the “lockbox” provision in the bill to ensure that revenues generated remain dedicated for transportation purposes. As with any revenue increase, we hope the General Assembly will explore ways of minimizing the impact on lower income families.

Montgomery County continues to have serious concerns about shifting responsibility for funding transportation to local jurisdictions. We are glad to see no local funding element is included in this legislation and look forward to reviewing the recommendations of the working group that will study funding mechanisms for local transportation systems.

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.

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