To replenish the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) Maryland residents may expect higher gas taxes, tolls and parking rates. The Blue Ribbon Commission On Maryland Transportation Funding told lawmakers these measures could raise $600 million in new revenues, on top of $200 million in bonds. The reason for the measure is to plug the hole left by lawmakers who have become accustomed to dumping the TTF into the General Fund in order to balance Maryland’s budget. The committee further proposes the state pass a constitutional rule barring such raids.
As I document in my recent paper, “Maryland’s Fiscal Slide,” what seem like small one-time maneuvers to close budget gaps ultimately weaken fiscal discpline and come with a price. Maryland has been dipping into the TTF since 1984 as the fund also became more reliant on bonds. The result is Marylanders now looking at higher taxes and fees, as well as interest payments on transportation bonds.