Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

End Md.'s highway robbery [Letter]

I'm writing in regard to the article "Local leaders seek restoration of road funds" (Jan. 1). If I'm not mistaken, Gov. Martin O'Malley and the Democratic-controlled state legislature pleaded to the citizens of Maryland that the state transportation fund was gravely depleted and underfunded and pushed through a series of increases in highway user revenue, which included gas tax, toll and registration fee increases.

According to the article, the state historically kept 70 percent of the revenue for building and maintaining its share of highways and roads. Baltimore City and the counties divided the remaining 30 percent among themselves based on road mileage and vehicle registrations.

In 2010, in response to the recession, the state changed the equation to having Maryland keep 71.5 percent of the highway user revenue for building and maintaining its share of the system with 19.3 percent going to the state general fund, Baltimore City receiving 7.5 percent and counties sharing the remaining 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the state expects annual total highway user revenue to be around $1.75 billion. If I do my math, the state Transportation Trust Fund gets around $1.25 billion. The state general fund is expected to get around $337.75 million of this transportation money while Baltimore City gets around $131.25 million. The rest of the counties divide up the remaining amount — around $29.75 million.

Looking at these figures brings several questions to mind. First, Mr. O'Malley and the legislature basically lied to us. If they are siphoning — a better word would be stealing — $337.75 million from the highway user revenue annually and transferring it to the state general fund, why were we being told that the transportation fund was broke and taxes and fees needed to be increased? Secondly, if the purpose of the highway user revenue is to build and repair transportation infrastructure as well as subsidize public transportation, why is $337.75 million (more than twice the amount of money being divided up among all of the counties and the city of Baltimore for their infrastructure needs) diverted away from the fund? My only guess is this money is fraudulently being used to cover the cost of other pet projects and programs the legislature and this governor have initiated in recent years. This is dishonest and borders on the criminal.

I'm requesting that the state legislature and Governor O'Malley reinstate the original highway user revenue formula to its historical levels prior to the recession and make the needed cuts to existing, unneeded programs to make up the $337.75 million they are stealing from the citizens of the state of Maryland.

Randi Hughes, Edgewood

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Shouldn't Md. already have been inspecting aging bridges?
    Shouldn't Md. already have been inspecting aging bridges?

    The top transportation official in the state has ordered an immediate inspection of 27 aging bridges. This announcement comes after a slab of concrete from an I-495 overpass struck a car in Prince George's County ("Md. to inspect aging bridges," Feb. 13).

  • A pothole jars home the true cost of tax cuts
    A pothole jars home the true cost of tax cuts

    I just spent $650 for new wheel and a new tire because of damage from a pothole on an urban street. I was not speeding. I needed AAA service at 10 o'clock at night. And it could have been worse.

  • Tell Congress to fix our crumbling transportation infrastructure
    Tell Congress to fix our crumbling transportation infrastructure

    For nearly six years America has not had a long-term transportation bill. While Congress has bickered and passed short-term patchwork bills, our nation's roads, bridges and public transit systems have deteriorated. Moreover, projects to modernize and expand our transportation infrastructure have...

  • Gas tax is wasted
    Gas tax is wasted

    In your editorial, "Congress on the clock" (April 13), you talk about the federal Highway Trust Fund going bankrupt unless Congress acts to raise taxes. Motorists deserve better highways and bridge repair, but the truth is not all of the tax money motorists pay goes to build or repair roads or...

  • The transportation lockbox [Editorial]
    The transportation lockbox [Editorial]

    Our view: Vote 'yes' on Question 1 and lock down state transportation funding — but don't expect Annapolis to throw away the key

  • Put 'trust' back in Transportation Trust Fund [Letter]
    Put 'trust' back in Transportation Trust Fund [Letter]

    A proposed state constitutional amendment creating a firewall for the Transportation Trust Fund will be on the ballot this fall, and while the legislation is flawed, it deserves voter support. The legislation (Senate Bill 829 of 2013) received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

Comments
Loading

50°