A proposal in the Maryland House would freeze the state’s
Transportation Trust Fund over concerns that the governor may increase the fuel
tax to pay for road improvements.
The bill sponsor, Delegate John R. Leopold, told The
Washington Times the legislation would prohibit the transfer of money from
the trust fund to the general fund. It would require a state constitutional
amendment and voter approval for passage.
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. took $300 million from the trust
fund when he took office last year to balance a nearly $2 billion shortfall
left by the previous administration, the newspaper reported.
The governor must still present a budget before the General
Assembly convenes Jan. 14 that includes a plan to reduce the remaining $786
Leopold, R-Pasadena, estimates more than $700 million in the
past two decades has been transferred from the trust fund to balance the state
budget. He also said $70 million has never been repaid.
The state has not raised the fuel tax in over a decade, and
a transportation fund task force is looking for a way to generate $300 million
by 2010 to fund new projects, Leopold said.
lawmakers are also talking about increasing vehicle
registration and titling fees.