The Maryland House of Delegates has voted to increase the state gas tax by another 13 to 20 cents per gallon of gas by mid-2016, according to the Washington Post.
The gas tax will help boost the state transportation fund to pay for highway construction and mass-transit projects that will help relieve traffic congestion, according to supporters.
Here's a closer look at the pending transportation legislation.
* The bill passed the House by a 78 to 56 vote on Friday. It will move on to the Senate for consideration.
* According to the Associated Press, this will be the first gas tax hike in over twenty years for the state.
* The current 23.5 cents-per-gallon excise tax will increase 1 percent in July, or another 3.3 cents on the price of a gallon of gas. Another half-penny will be added on in July 2014.
* On Jan. 1 2015, the price will increase another 3.7 cents and to about 12 cents by July.
* House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery) said the measure was necessary to improve traffic waits in the region. "There is a real cost to congestion. I believe this is what we need to do to get people out of their cars and moving," the Washington Post reported.
* Republicans opposed the measure and tried to stall the effort by saying the measure put the burden of transportation infrastructure to heavily on the working class. Del. Nicholaus R. Kipke (R-Anne Arundel) said that the move was untimely, according to the Washington Post. "We need to give our economy a chance to recover, and this will make it worse. It is socially unjust for our government to do this to our most vulnerable citizens."
* As reported by the Baltimore Sun , Republican Del. Herbert McMillan of Anne Arundel County had particularly sharp criticism for the bill, saying that "Passing laws that raise taxes automatically without a vote is in my opinion utterly cowardly," referring to an indexing provision that would tie future increases to the tax as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
* The bill was an agreement between Gov. Martin O'Malley, House Speaker Michael E. Busch, and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller made earlier this month.
* The Washington Post said the increases will mean an extra $19 per year for drivers initially, but will eventually rise to another $100 per year.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington D.C. in Germantown, Maryland.
- Politics & Government
- Maryland House of Delegates
- the Washington Post