Video by Whitney Harris/CNS-TV
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would prevent money from the state’s Transportation Trust Fund from being used for anything other than transportation projects.
The money generated from gas, motor vehicle titling and other types of transportation-related taxes creates revenue for the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. In recent years, governors–both Republican and Democratic–have taken money from the fund to help balance the state budget.
Cecilia Petro, who commutes to Annapolis for work everyday, said she hopes the vehicle-related taxes she pays go towards funding transportation projects.
“I hope it goes for roads, bridges and infrastructure. But I know sometimes those funds are raided and used for other things,” she said.
A commission set up by last year’s General Assembly to make recommendations for future transportation funding, recently reported that nearly $1 billion had been taken from the fund since its creation. Those funds have never been repaid.
Larry Enger, another Maryland commuter, said he wants the money he spends at the pump to be spent where it was intended.
“I hope the money will go for the infrastructure because we’re going to need it,” he said.
“If that’s what I think my money’s being spent on, I’d like it to be spent that way,” Petro said.
The bill, which is titled the Transportation Trust Fund Protection Act, is sponsored by Delegate Susan Krebs, R-Carroll County . Her legislative aid, Meaghan Archer, said the bill would restore the public’s confidence in transportation.
“Making sure it’s locked is the best way to get public trust back in transportation dollars,” Archer said.
Improving the quality of Maryland’s roads was among the top priorities Gov. Martin O’Malley laid out in his state-of-the-state address. O’Malley is expected to propose his own version of the bill later during this legislative session.