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Can Md. follow Va.'s lead on transportation?
The General Assembly returned to Annapolis today, and the biggest idea floating around comes from across the Potomac. With the details of Gov. Martin O'Malley's agenda a mystery for the time being, lawmakers in Maryland's capital find themselves confronted by a bold, if not altogether sound, idea from Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell to increase the commonwealth's transportation funding by $3.1 billion over the next five years. On Tuesday, he proposed eliminating the politically unpopular gas tax altogether and replacing it with higher sales taxes, a variety of fees and as-yet nonexistent revenue from taxing sales over the Internet. It may not produce enough revenue to address gridlock that's as bad as or worse than Maryland's. It raises serious questions about equity and would likely force cuts to other priorities. But it represents a much more forceful attempt to tackle a long-term threat to than the regional economy than Mr. O'Malley appears inclined to muster.
January 9, 2013