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Drivers Unhappy At Prospect Of Increasing Gas Tax

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With the price of gas as high as it is, the idea of adding more in gas taxes doesn’t sit well with many drivers.

Derek Valcourt has a breakdown of what we’re paying and what some lawmakers may want us to pay.

When it comes to major transportation projects, there’s a lot local governments want to do but there’s not enough in state coffers to do it.

The city says its top transportation priority is to build the red line from Woodlawn to Johns Hopkins Bayview. Carroll County’s top priority is to improve heavily traveled Route 32. Anne Arundel County says it needs to widen Route 175 near Fort Meade. If you add up the cost for just the top priority project in each of the 23 counties and the city, and the state would need an extra $12 billion.

Governor Martin O’Malley points out that’s money the state’s transportation trust fund just doesn’t have.

“You get what you pay for and there’s no way to build a $100 million bridge for $10 million,” he said.

That’s why the state Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding recommends raising the state’s gas tax by 15 cents per gallon over three years. The idea of an increase is being discussed in Annapolis and on the roads.

“I would sacrifice 15 cents over that period for improving the roads. I would,” said one driver.

“The roads [are] fine as they are,” said another.

Many drivers say the price of gas is already too high. That’s in part because of the high cost of crude oil, which makes up 75 percent of the cost of a gallon. Another 10 percent goes into refining that oil and five percent for distribution. The last 10 percent is our taxes. For every gallon, 18.4 cents goes to the federal government and 23.5 cents goes to Maryland and its transportation trust fund. Adding 15 more cents would make Maryland’s gas tax rate of 38.5 cents, the sixth highest in the country.

So far, lawmakers have not formally introduced any proposal to increase the gas tax, but it’s being discussed among the top leaders of both parties.

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