Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly have agreed to partially restore local road and bridge funding that was cut during the Great Recession.
Before the recession, counties, municipalities and the City of Baltimore received 30% of the “highway user revenues,” a fund that draws from taxes on gas, vehicle titles, registration fees, car rentals, and the state corporate income tax. The rest went to the State Highway Administration.
The split was altered to 90-10 after state revenues plummeted due to the economic downturn. Restoring the old formula has long been a priority for local leaders, the Maryland Municipal League, the Maryland Association of Counties.
Under the compromise, the localities’ share of the fund will gradually increase, reaching an 80-20 split in fiscal year 2027. In a press release, the Hogan administration said the agreement will result in a $663 million increase in local road and bridge repair funding.
“These grants will provide our counties and municipalities with vital resources to address critical needs and advance more priority projects in every jurisdiction,” Hogan (R) said in a statement. “…I want to thank our partners in the General Assembly for working with us to get this done.”
Legislation to restore the old formula was sponsored by Del. Carl Anderton Jr. (R-Lower Shore) and it attracted backing from an unusual array of conservative, centrist and progressive leaders, including many local officials who said their ability to repair local roads has been decimated by the cuts.
“This is a bill that affects every person in the state of Maryland because we all travel residential streets,” he said. “This is about having safe, clean roads.”
By Bruce DePuyt