The Montgomery County Council on Monday unanimously agreed to lend its support to the transportation funding proposal from Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and State House leaders.
The measure would lower the gas tax, then add a tax on gas at the wholesale level that could mean a price jump of 2 cents per gallon starting in July and a jump of another 7 cents starting next July. Montgomery leaders have long argued for a gas tax hike that would provide funding to match federal commitments to the Purple Line light rail.
County leaders also hope a replenished Transportation Trust Fund would help fund a Bus Rapid Transit system and the Corridor Cities Transitway.
The Transportation Infrastructure and Investment Act of 2013, which O’Malley introduced last week with House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, is projected to raise $3.4 billion in revenue for transportation projects over the next five years.
That would reportedly not be enough to simultaneously fund construction of the Purple Line and Red Line, a light rail project proposed for Baltimore.
That could cause the state to prioritize projects. On Montgomery County’s Engage Montgomery website, one recent prompt asks residents which of the county’s projects (the Purple Line, BRT or CCT) is most important and why.
So far, most commenters agree the east-to-west connection provided by the Purple Line, which would run 16 miles and connect Bethesda riders with Chevy Chase, Silver Spring and College Park, is most needed.