Elected officials across Maryland are urging state lawmakers to pass the first increase in the state's gasoline tax in 19 years so the state can spend more on rails, roads and bridges, which they say will create jobs.
Recommended by the state's Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding, the 15-cent increase to the state's 23.5-cent tax on each gallon of gas -- levied in 5-cent increases every year for three years -- is expected to bring in an additional $491 million each year of the increase, helping to cover the $800 million in annual transportation needs.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker and Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown -- who spoke on behalf of Gov. Martin O'Malley -- to insist that increasing the gas tax will help revive the state's economy.
Transportation projects -- like improvements to Routes 5 and 210 in Prince George's County and the construction of the Baltimore Red Line and the Purple Line that would connect New Carrollton to Bethesda -- are underfunded and are desperately needed to create and retain jobs, said Leggett, Baker and Rawlings-Blake.