Maryland lawmakers approve more money for local roads

April 10, 2018

Keith Goble


The days of local governments in Maryland needing to cut back on road work could soon be in the past.

At one time, nearly one-third of the state’s highway user revenues was routed to counties and municipalities for road projects. Highway user revenues are made up largely of fuel taxes and vehicle fees.

In 2010, state lawmakers raided the Transportation Trust Fund to help shore up the state’s general fund. At that time the formula was changed to allot about 8.5 percent of highway user revenues to local governments.

Combined with fewer tax dollars following the Great Recession, the revenue spigot for local governments was nearly shut off.

Since that time, legislators and Gov. Larry Hogan have approved efforts to gradually bring back more transportation money to local governments.

The General Assembly has approved by unanimous consent a bill to take the next step. The bill headed to the governor’s desk would require all fuel tax revenue to be held in the Transportation Trust Fund.

Municipalities’ share of revenue via the state’s fuel tax would be increased by as much as 2.8 percent. Local governments could only use their share of highway user revenues for authorized purposes related to transportation infrastructure construction and maintenance.

HB807 would also change the way the Maryland Department of Transportation allocates fuel tax revenue. Specifically, the agency would provide to local governments capital grants based on the amount of revenue in the roads account.

The rule change would take effect at the beginning of fiscal year 2020.

The governor’s office has not indicated whether the bill will be signed into law.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Maryland, click here.