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O'Malley, Brown plan transportation announcement

Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown will travel to Montgomery County Monday to roll out a list of new transportation projects as part of a campaign to show the gas tax increase they backed this year is being put to good use.

The event, which follows a similar announcement in Prince George's County, will include news about the Washington region's biggest project -- the light rail Purple Line between New Carrollton and Bethesda, according to Transportation Department spokeswoman Erin Henson.

The inclusion of Brown in these events takes on a political dimension because he is a candidate to succeed O'Malley. The governor, who supports Brown, has increasingly been sharing the spotlight with his political partner when there's good news to announce.

Henson said the state will formally release its Comprehensive Transportation Plan, which outlines state spending plans for the next six years, on Sept. 3. However, she said most of the major projects will be announced by the governor at a series of regional events between now and then.

One of those events, for which the date has not been announced, will highlight important projects in the Baltimore region. Henson said that appearance will likely include news about Baltimore's own light rail project, the Red Line between Bayview and Woodlawn.

At the behest of the O'Malley administration, the General Assembly adopted legislation this year raising the state gas tax for the first time since 1992 to pay for a backlog of transportation projects that had been on ice or progressing slowly for years. The bill already raised what was a 23.5-cent-a-gallon gas tax to 27 cents July 1.

Further scheduled increases could raise that tax as high as 42 cents by 2016, though that amount could be smaller if Congress passes a law allowing states to collect sales tax on Internet purchases.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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