MML and Maryland Mayors, Including Fosselman and Newton, Advocate for Restoration of Highway User Revenues (VIDEO)

The Maryland Municipal League (MML) and the Mayor’s Association is calling for an overhaul of the state funding formula that provides for the distribution of Highway User Revenues to local governments. Find out more in this video:

Mayors and municipal leaders are joined by a number of state legislators – including lead sponsors, Senator Nancy King (District 39, Montgomery County), Senator Douglas J.J. Peters (District 23, Prince George’s County), Delegate Pamela Beidle (District 32, Anne Arundel County) and Delegate Anne Healey (District 22, Prince George’s County) – in calling for General Assembly passage of a bill that would require municipal Highway User Revenues be restored to pre-recession funding levels, phased in over a period of five years. This will ensure greater predictability for municipalities that count on the funds for critical road and transportation projects in their jurisdictions.

The municipal leaders’ call for the legislative change follows several years of instability in the Highway User Revenues funding stream, dating back to a volatile period starting in fiscal year 2008, when the cities and towns’ share was slashed from a high of more than $45 million to $1.7 million in FY 11. In more recent years, Governors and the legislature have sought to increase the funding share through special grants, but the overall amount has still been far lower than it was at its peak and there has been no predictability in the amount to be provided, from year to year.

“Our cities and towns are simply unable to absorb the costs of maintaining their transportation infrastructure without a fair and stable, state-shared revenue source,” said 2015-16 MML President Spencer Schlosnagle, Mayor of Friendsville. “We took a major hit in the loss of this critical funding at the time of the Great Recession and in the years since, as our State budget has been recovering from that devastating period. But we cannot continue to adequately maintain our roads, bridges and sidewalks without full restoration of this critical source of funding, which is so key to the ability of our municipalities to maintain their roads, bridges, sidewalks and other infrastructure.”

For the seventh year in a row, the MML membership decided that advocating for the restoration of a long-term stable transportation funding stream should be a top legislative priority for the League. MML endorsed a commitment to work with the General Assembly and the Hogan Administration to fully restore municipal Highway User Revenues (HURs), to ensure predictable, stable transportation funding into the future.

For well over a half century, Maryland municipalities have been recipients of state gasoline taxes and other revenue sources that provide revenue sharing to assist them in maintaining their roads. This revenue-sharing plan established in Maryland law has served as a firm covenant between the State and local governments and has provided reliability and predictability to help pay for municipal transportation needs. Sharing in revenues collected through state taxes once alleviated what has now become an unsustainable over reliance on the property tax – the primary general fund revenue source for municipalities.

Cities and towns maintain nearly 3,000 miles of road in Maryland and approximately 700,000 vehicles registered are to drivers who live in municipalities. Maryland’s municipalities are often the economic engines within the counties, which means municipal roads are more heavily traveled than other roads around the State,

As a result of the ongoing loss of funding, municipal governments have been unable to effectively plan for long-term transportation projects. Even the ability to perform routine road maintenance has become unpredictable, leaving municipal Main Streets across the state languishing in a state of disrepair. In total, municipalities have lost $221 million since funding was first slashed in FY 2009.

To address the long-term transportation funding gap, the League is looking to introduce legislation to provide a long-term, stable transportation revenue stream for Maryland’s cities and towns.

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