Rural Lawmakers Try to Stall a Higher Gas Tax in Maryland

Rural-urban animosities have apparently flared up in Maryland, where a pair of lawmakers representing some of the state’s more sparsely populated regions have each proposed levying additional taxes on the state’s urbanized areas to pay for transit.

Maryland Sens. Richard Colburn and George Edwards are trying to head off a statewide gas tax increase. Photo: www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20120212144057827 Towson Patch

“Sens. Richard Colburn and George Edwards are each proposing increases to the sales tax of between one-half to one penny,” reports the Towson Patch. “All of the proposed taxes would affect only residents of Baltimore City and of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.”

The proposals sound plausible, given that other regions have special taxes dedicated to transit. But the rural legislators are using their bills to drag down Governor Martin O’Malley’s plans for a statewide gas tax. Network blog Baltimore Spokes says that for Maryland, a statewide funding mechanism is only fair when you consider the full costs of sprawl:

I find this rather humorous as rural residents need more road miles per person them urban dwellers so they should be taxed at a higher rate to support their expensive road addiction. I will also note that I could summarize our transportation “problems” as how to handle all that rural traffic trying to come and go from urban areas. So shouldn’t those causing the problems be taxed at a higher rate?

The problem with sprawl is people move out from urban centers to get cheaper homes but then pay more in transportation costs, and then complain about that expense. Sorry you can’t have cheap across the board. So all this is about is complaining how expensive it is to use a car in rural Maryland and all we are trying to do is give everyone more affordable options and reduce the number of cars clogging our roadways, which should be supported by everyone.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Raleigh Connoisseur reports that regional leaders are moving forward with plans for Raleigh to Richmond high-speed rail. Systemic Failure points out that many communities have adopted a rather liberal interpretation of the term “transit village.” And a new proposal to ban bikes from many transit stations in New Jersey has cyclists up in arms, reports WalkBikeJersey.