Reporting Gigi Barnett
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—The price at the pump will be getting even higher if Governor Martin O’Malley has his way. He wants to raise the gas tax.
Gigi Barnett explains the idea that may anger some drivers.
With the governor’s endorsement, it appears highly likely that the gas tax will be go up when lawmakers return to Annapolis.
Officials say there’s just not enough money in the budget to pay for both maintenance and improvements on area roads, tunnels and bridges.
Governor O’Malley says a gas-tax hike must be seriously discussed come 2012.
“Somehow we have to find a way to make the modern investments that a modern economy requires to create jobs,” O’Malley said.
Right now, the gas tax is 23.5 cents per gallon–an amount set back in 1992.
A state commission recommended raising that by 15 cents, bringing the Maryland’s sales tax to 38.5 cents. If approved, the state would have the sixth highest gas tax in the nation.
“But you get what you pay for. And there’s no way to build a $100 million bridge for $10 million,” O’Malley said.
Drivers feel they’re already paying enough.
“You find yourself working to buy fuel. And not working to buy food,” one driver said.
“I think about when it was almost four bucks a gallon. It was crazy!” said another driver.
The 2012 legislative session opens on January 11.
Experts say any gas tax increase would likely mean an increase in fares on public transportation.
The state commission recommends the gas tax be phased in over a three-year period, so that gas prices didn’t spike all at once.
Earlier this year, more than a quarter of the General Assembly co-sponsored a bill which would increase the gas tax by 10 cents.