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County Leaders Careful In Praise Of Miller’s Gas Tax Plan

By Aaron Kraut

Monday - 1/28/2013, 2:10pm  ET

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and County Council President Nancy Navarro (D-East County) today praised Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller for his proposed gas tax hike that would help pay for transportation projects such as the Purple Line light rail.

But Leggett and Navarro were also careful when addressing whose responsibility it was to raise that revenue. Part of Miller’s plan would be a provision to allow individual counties to collect up to 5 cents per gallon for local projects.

While most Montgomery County lawmakers and a number of transportation advocates are in favor of raising the gas tax to help fund the Purple Line, it remains an unpopular political maneuver. According to a recent statewide poll, 73 percent oppose a 10 cents per gallon gas tax increase even though 56 percent think maintaining and improving Maryland’s transportation system is “very important.”

“We strongly believe that transportation funding is a state obligation that requires a state solution,” Leggett and Navarro said in a joint statement. “We support decisive statewide action by the General Assembly to increase revenue dedicated to transportation. As with any tax program, we hope the state will explore ways of minimizing the impact on lower income families.”

Rendering via Maryland Transit Administration