New gas tax increases take effect on Monday, providing $4.4 billion in additional spending on transportation over 6 years
By: Josh Altic
Annapolis, Maryland: On Monday, Maryland drivers will see the effects of new legislation at the pump. The gas tax, which has stayed static at 23.5 cents per gallon since 1992, is expected to rise by 3.5 cents per gallon for a total of 27 cents per gallon. This increase is half a cent less than the 4 cent increase predicted by the Department of Transportation when a new transportation bill went through legislature in March. This is the first of a series of gas tax increases that are estimated to raise gas prices by between 13 and 20 cents per gallon by mid-2016. The increases are due partly to new legislation establishing that the gas tax be adjusted annually to reflect the Consumer Price Index. The remaining tax increase is a result of a new sales tax being applied to gas throughout Maryland.
According to transportation officials this gas tax was established just in time as the transportation department was about to run out of money. But now they report $4.4 billion additional funds to spend over the next 6 years. When Governor Martin O'Malley signed the gas-tax bill into law, he proposed $1.2 billion in new transportation projects, which included spending $280 million on the proposed rail link between Bethesda and New Carrollton, known as the Purple link. There are also plans to use the additional funding on the Corridor Cities Transitway - design work costing $100 million - a rapid bus line along the I-270, expanded MARC weekend train service and a widening project along the west side of the Baltimore Beltway - costing $90 million.